Why We Exist
The following story shares how the ALS Society of Alberta helps to “make it possible” for those living with and affected by ALS…
Gerald Anderson’s granddaughter, Amanda, played a very special role in his life. Amanda’s wedding day was nearing and she wanted nothing more than to have her papa (as she called him), walk her down the aisle on her special day. As Gerald’s ALS diagnosis progressed, the wedding was set to take place at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton where he was being cared for. Amanda’s wedding day dream became a reality when Gerald was able to guide her down the aisle, thanks to help and support of the ALS Society of Alberta.
What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
ALS is a rapid, always fatal, neurodegenerative disease. It attacks the nerves that the body would normally use to send messages from the brain to the muscle, resulting in weakness and wasting. Eventually, the individual with ALS is left completely immobilized, with loss of speech and eventually an inability to swallow and breathe. The sensory neurons in people living with ALS continue to function normally so that they will continue to feel the sensations of heat, cold, discomfort, etc. The mind often remains completely alert and lucid. The result is often a lively, unimpaired mind trapped in an immobilized body. The average life expectancy from symptom onset is two to five years.
Approximately 3,000 Canadians live with ALS and two to three Canadians die every day of ALS. There is no known cause or cure for this devastating disease.