Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neuromuscular disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the brain to gradually lose its ability to initiate and control muscle movement, according to the ALS Association.
There is no known cause for ALS. The disease is marked by a progressive onset of muscle weakness that impedes the ability to speak, swallow, walk, eat, grasp objects, move and breathe. Patients in the later stages of ALS may become paralyzed and require ventilation equipment. Although scientists are making progress toward treatment for ALS, the disease is incurable at this time, with an average life expectancy of two to five years, the ALS Association notes.
The association adds that more than 5,000 people are diagnosed with the disease annually, and that those who develop ALS usually are between the ages of 40 and 70 although it can strike anyone at any age. The disorder is 20 percent more common in men than women, and approximately 90 percent of cases involve no known family history or genetic cause.
A fundraising event to aid ALS awareness and research took place Aug. 20 in memory of a Southern Tier resident who recently died of the disease. The inaugural “Shady Strong” barbecue and concert was held at Rawley Park in Richford, northern Tioga County, honoring Robert Shady, a parishioner of St Patrick in Owego. In 2019 Shady died at age 75 following a 17-month battle with ALS.
Another Southern Tier resident who recently lost his battle with the disease was Mike D’Aloisio, who won numerous Section 4 football, basketball and golf titles during a lengthy coaching career at Elmira Notre Dame High School, where he also was an administrator. D’Aloisio died May 22 at age 71 after being diagnosed with ALS nearly two years earlier.Tags: Health and Wellness