Give to Charity May 2015
Every month is a good month for giving to charity, but here are some ways to make a difference in May of 2015:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month
As a percent of total population, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) affects a smaller number of people than many other major diseases, but is a very worrisome diagnosis. Many people affected by ALS are previously very healthy. Its symptoms include the gradual loss of muscle control, and eventually the loss of speech, walking, and even breathing. ALS leads to death in two to five years.
Many people say that a disease like ALS would be one of their worst nightmares. That is what makes the search for a cure so important, so that not one person will have to suffer through the symptoms of ALS again.
One of the most famous people with the disease was New York Yankee Lou Gehrig, but it has also affected Senator Jacob Javits and NBA player George Yardley. Usually affecting people over 40, ALS began affecting Lou Gehrig when he was only 36 years old, at the height of his career.
The ALS Association has dedicated $99 million for research, and researchers have discovered a possible gene mutation that may be responsible for many cases. Identification of the gene makes it possible to develop drug therapies, so it is vitally important that research continue. You can help by donating to ALS cure research at our Lou Gehrig Footprint.
Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month
Huntington’s Disease is an illness that affects neurons in the brain. Its symptoms are similar to those of ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, simultaneously. The folk singer Woody Guthrie is one of its most famous people affected by Huntington’s disease; he died in 1967.
Known to be caused by a faulty gene, Huntington’s disease is known to affect offspring of people who are affected by it 50% of the time. However, many people do not begin exhibiting symptoms until they are older than childbearing age, and they often already have children by the time they discover they are afflicted with Huntington’s.
Symptoms include personality changes, depression, mood swings, and deterioration of the brain and body. Late stages of the disease mean that the person becomes a patient who is totally dependent on a caregiver.
Since the faulty gene has been identified, DNA testing allows for those using In Vitro Fertilization to test eggs for the gene before being implanted. People at risk may also choose to have DNA testing to confirm if they have the gene to make more informed decisions about their future.
The Huntington’s Disease Society of America provides information and links to testing centers. They also provide a donation form, ways to support their marathon team, how to donate a car, and other ways to give, so they can continue fundraising to wipe out this illness.
Because Huntington’s disease is hereditary, whole families can be subject to a steady decline in their quality of life. NBC reporter Charles Sabine, who covered wars and disasters all over the world, faced his biggest challenge when he was diagnosed after losing his father to the illness. His family also found out his brother has it. Sabine is now an outspoken proponent for research and shares his story at conferences.