The recent Ice Bucket Challenge to Raise ALS Awareness has been a monumental success because people from every walk of life in every town across the state have stepped up and participated.
On behalf of the patients, staff and board of directors at the ALS Association, Connecticut Chapter, I want to thank you all.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a fatal disease for which there is neither a treatment nor a cure. It robs patients of the ability to use their muscles -- to hug their kids, throw a ball, drive a car, shake hands, walk, talk, breathe.
Because people like you have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS awareness has risen to levels not seen in 75 years, since the legendary Lou Gehrig retired from baseball and died from ALS within two years.
At any given time in Connecticut, 250 people are living with ALS. Each year, there are 70 new people are diagnosed in our state and 70 die.
It is a horrible cycle with no good outcome. But, together, we are all helping improve the lives of the patients and families living with ALS in our state.
This year more than 200 ALS patients will be seen at Connecticut's only certified ALS clinic at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain. We are proud to help fund the clinic while also providing the care planning, ALS Clinic, counseling, mobility equipment, complex wheelchairs, home modification, transportation, respite care and research that patients and caregivers so desperately need.
Again, I cannot thank you enough for spreading the word, for making donations, and for caring about our neighbors with ALS. You have most certainly made a difference in their lives.
Mike Burke, executive director