July 18th will be a big day for Traxpay! For the very first time, we will be part of the “Ride to Defeat ALS”. “But it’s only May!” you might say. Yes, and May is National ALS Month, and in the spirit of keeping the conversation going and to drive further research into finding a cure for ALS, Traxpay is getting involved.
Last summer, in large part to the social media blitz on the #icebucketchallenge, millions of people around the world started talking about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Ride to Defeat ALS is a one-day, fully supported charity event designed to appeal to a broad range of bicyclists. Riders can choose their route and take part in a physical challenge that benefits people living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Participants enjoy breakfast and lunch, an event t-shirt, fully-stocked rest stops every 4-10 miles (with restrooms, first aid, and bike repair), support vehicles ready to provide a lift, Ride Marshals along the route, entertainment, a finish line celebration, and fundraising awards and prizes.
We feel that this race is an exciting opportunity for Traxpay to work together to support those affected by Lou Gehrig’s Disease in our local communities, and to spread awareness of the urgency to find treatments and ultimately, a cure.
Please consider supporting our efforts by giving a tax deductible donation towards the event’s official goal to raise $200K. Please know any amount helps and every dollar makes a difference.
With your help, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of people affected by this disease, while also having a great time. Click here to support our team.
Thanks, Team Traxpay
More on ALS
Lou Gehrig, with whom ALS is most commonly associated, first brought national and international attention to the disease back in 1939 when he abruptly retired from baseball after being diagnosed with ALS. However, ALS is not just Lou Gehrig’s disease and it knows no boundaries.
You will also recognize renowned Physicist Stephen Hawking who has lived with the disease for nearly 50 years now. Hawking suffers from a rare, early-onset, slow-progressing form of ALS that has gradually paralyzed him over the decades. He now communicates using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device.
The disease has cut short the lives of such notable and courageous individuals as Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Senator Jacob Javits, actors Michael Zaslow and David Niven, creator of Sesame Street Jon Stone, television producer Scott Brazil, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, pro football player Glenn Montgomery, golfer Jeff Julian, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, British soccer player Jimmy Johnstone, musicians Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter) and Charles Mingus, photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, composer Dimitri Shostakovich, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace, and U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor.
What is ALS: The progressive disease results from a degeneration of motor neurons until those neurons die off. Two groups are affected — a group of cells on top of the brain, on the cortex, and those within the spinal cord. Amyotrophic comes from the Greek language, the ALS Association explains on its website, with “A” meaning no or negative, “myo” referring to muscle, and “trophic” meaning nourishment, so “No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it atrophies, or wastes away.
Who gets ALS: ALS can strike anyone between the ages of 40 and 70. It is 20 percent more common in men than in women, and, though typically not genetic, can be hereditary in about 10 percent of cases.
History: ALS was first discovered in 1869 by the French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but Lou Gehrig, through his own diagnosis, first brought national and international attention to the disease (as well as an alternative name) in 1939.
Symptoms: Early clues can include increasing muscle weakness, particularly in one’s limbs, that can also affect speech, swallowing, or breathing. “It’s initially difficult to recognize,” noted Dr. U. Shivraj Sohur, a movement disorder specialist with the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, in a recent Yahoo! Health article. “Usually muscles will jump and there will be weakness in one muscle at a time, all while a person is in generally good health.” Because the disease progresses quickly, though, diagnosis gets easier, he said. As muscles stop functioning, they begin to atrophy, and patients in the later stages of the disease may become completely paralyzed, while affected muscle regions harden — the aspect known as “sclerosis.”
Treatments: While nothing can stop or reverse the effects of ALS, there is a single FDA-approved drug, Riluzole, that slightly slows its progression; several other drugs in clinical trials are promising, according to the ALS Foundation.
Prognosis: “An ALS diagnosis is a death sentence,” said Jim Beck, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in the article. The average life expectancy from time of diagnosis is just two to five years. However, he added, “It’s a complicated disease, meaning the way it presents itself is always different.” More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis, while ten percent will live for more than 10 years and 5 percent more than 20.