When my father was diagnosed with ALS in November 2011, he and my mother began attending an ALS multidisciplinary clinic. He had been sick for three to four years and had seen doctor after doctor trying to get a diagnosis. When he started attending clinic, the ease of a one-stop place for patients to see all the disciplines necessary to treat ALS gave my parents both relief and empowerment.
Aside from the relief of constant travel to numerous doctor’s appointments, multidisciplinary clinics help provide a better quality of life for a patient and caregiver. From bonding with another patient or caregiver in the lobby over a shared experience to the ability to learn about new developments in treatments and research, the benefits are endless.
The plethora of benefits clearly indicated the great need for more clinics across the state of Texas. When we developed our strategic plan for the Texas Chapter, clinic development was one of our top mission priorities. Last year, we partnered with Dr. Stanley Appel and the MDA to certify the Houston Methodist ALS Clinic. This year, I am pleased to say that we have added three clinics across the state, almost doubling our clinic involvement. Adding these clinics is a huge step forward in our long-term goal. So many things must be organized and aligned to make this happen, and I am so proud of the advancements our Chapter has made this year in achieving these goals and propelling our mission.
Most of our mission priorities are impacted by a greater access to clinics for all people fighting ALS in Texas. ALS multidisciplinary clinics help to raise the profile of the disease and the Association within the medical community, and participation in the clinics have proven to extend the life of ALS patients. They are also where real-life research takes place. They offer ease of access to clinical trials for patients and provide researchers with qualified candidates for their research studies. It’s this symbiotic environment in which the mysteries of ALS will continue to be unlocked and how treatments, and ultimately a cure, will be discovered. I am extremely proud of the work our team has accomplished in achieving these goals.
Increasing clinic support has added challenges that we are confident in facing in the coming years. As we begin to see significant growth in the number of patients we will serve, the challenge of investing in our programs and staff will also grow. Your financial partnership in these efforts will be immensely important to meeting the needs of patients and caregivers in Texas. Would you give a tax-deductible year-end donation today?
ALS Texas Board President