In 2018 we set out with the goal to spark hope, ignite action, and inspire others to join us in the fight to create a world without ALS. And it was thanks to our wonderful community that we were able to achieve that goal. Throughout the year we provided patient services, hosted community events, and helped fund life-changing research to find new treatments for this devastating disease.
The ALS Association Introduces New Mission Integration Concept at the Walk to Defeat ALS
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people across the country bring their determination, energy, and passion to the Walk to Defeat ALS to celebrate the progress made in the search for a cure with the ALS community. This year, we’ll honor our loved ones who are battling ALS and who have battled ALS through our new program UNLOCK ALS.
We’ll celebrate the real possibility of unlocking the mysteries of ALS. Anyone may hold the key to UNLOCK ALS – a fundraiser raising funds for the cure, a person with ALS participating in a clinical trial, a researcher developing treatments, even you.
In 2001, Patricia and Oran Hamilton welcomed their son Patrick into the world. As Patricia started this new chapter in her life, she knew that she wanted to cherish every moment of motherhood. Over the years, she watched as her son grew, encouraging his love of learning.
When Patrick was 11, Patricia started experiencing weakness in her hand, and went to a neurologist who gave her three different diagnoses. In March 2014, she was finally diagnosed with ALS.
What does it mean to be a part of the Walk to Defeat ALS? We’ve thought a lot about this question over the last few months.
Participation in this campaign can mean different things to different people, but overall, we think it can be summed up in these three words: Community, Celebration, Hope.
By Jackie Barry
Jackie Barry lives with her husband Tom in Austin, Texas. She was diagnosed with ALS in 2016 and has been involved with the ALS Association since then. Read her story below.
In early 2015, I began having a speech problem, like a lisp, which seemed to get a little worse when I was stressed or tired. We were in the midst of getting home repairs done, so I thought it would just go away if I ignored it.
In August that year, I saw the doctor about it, and he suspected it could be a stroke or a brain tumor, among other things. I had an MRI, MRA and a carotid sonogram done, which all came back normal. Shortly after that, I was referred to a neurologist, who sent me for a swallow test, after which he believed it was a neuromuscular problem. He then referred me to Dr. Carlayne Jackson at UT Health in San Antonio. Dr. Jackson diagnosed me with ALS in February 2016.
By Guillermo Garcia
My name is Guillermo Garcia. I am from San Antonio, Texas, and I was diagnosed with ALS in November 2015. It was ironic, because in August of 2014 we saw the Ice Bucket Challenge explode. Prior to that, we didn’t really have any knowledge of ALS and didn’t personally know anyone who had it. A group of us got involved in the challenge with my daughter’s softball team, and we started challenging everyone to do it. But we still didn’t really have a good idea of what it was.
In October of that year, my wife asked if I’d noticed that I had some twitching going on. I hadn’t until she pointed it out. We waited about a month to see if it would go away, but it didn’t. It just so happened that at the time, I was also having some issues with what we thought was carpal tunnel. I told my doctor about the twitching and was referred to a neurologist for some tests. I was diagnosed with ALS in November 2015, a year after initially noticing symptoms.
We had the privilege of awarding the first Harrison Brown Volunteer of the Year award to Whitney Sadler at the 2017 Austin Walk to Defeat ALS.
The award honors the late Harrison Brown who lost his life in the stabbing at the University of Texas in May 2017.
May is ALS Awareness Month!
Awareness is critical to our goal of ending ALS forever. The more people know about ALS, the more they get involved, and the more they support ALS advocacy and research. Through that support, we’ve made great strides toward finding potential treatments for ALS.
But we need your help to spread the word and keep the momentum going! It’s people like you who make everything we do possible. Here are a few ways you can take part in ALS Awareness Month:
When Kristin Sedate’s father was diagnosed with ALS in 2014, she stepped in to serve as one of his primary caregivers. Read her story about their journey through ALS and what your donations meant to their family.