Donate to ALS Research, Patient Care and Education

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s Disease (named after the professional baseball player who brought the illness to national attention), attacks the neurons that transmit messages from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles used in body movement. These motor neurons die and stop transmitting messages to the muscles. This degeneration causes muscles in the body to weaken and waste away, eventually leading to complete loss of control of body movement. While physical function diminishes and eventually stops completely, ALS does not affect one’s brain, sight or hearing. Essentially, ALS traps a person in his/her own body.

ALS does not discriminate; it claims people from all racial and ethnic groups, and while the majority of those afflicted are between the ages of 40 and 70, ALS also has affected younger people as well. Most patients diagnosed with ALS die within the first two to five years of onset — most commonly of respiratory failure. Only 10 percent of patients diagnosed with ALS will survive up to 10 years with the condition.

While there is currently no cure for ALS, there is hope in the form of the tireless scientists and clinicians at Northwestern Medicine. Our scientists are on the leading edge of ALS research and, notably, have been offering, and monitoring patient use of, the first drug in 22 years to be approved by the FDA for ALS treatment: Edaravone. Further, Northwestern Memorial Hospital is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Illinois and Chicago by U.S. News & World Report.  

You can help Northwestern Memorial Foundation lead the charge in treating, and finding a cure for, ALS.  Your financial support will help Northwestern Medicine’s multidisciplinary care team — which includes neurologists, pulmonologists, nurses, dietitians, genetic counselors and occupational speech pathologists — to further improve patients’ quality of life through a comprehensive approach to care. This approach encompasses medical treatment, wellness-related services and patient and family support. Some of the care team’s offerings include:

  • Drugs to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These medications treat pain, panic attacks, depression, uncontrollable laughter and crying, and muscle twitches. The FDA-approved drug Rilutek (as well as Edaravone) has extended life expectancy in some ALS patients.
  • Physical and occupational therapy, which may help to slow muscle weakness and atrophy, and may help to prevent immobility in joints.
  • Use of a ventilator for breathing, which becomes necessary as chest muscles eventually fail.

ALS Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Your financial contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help Northwestern Medicine — and our dedicated ALS specialists — make important strides toward eradicating ALS for good.

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