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May is ALS Awareness Month. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease that doesn’t discriminate. Any time anyone is diagnosed with ALS, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is there to support patients, families and caregivers. Whether providing world-class care or investing in innovative research and technology, MDA has led the way, with decades of progress against ALS.

We have dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to ALS research, and care for tens of thousands of people diagnosed with ALS and their families. Our commitment includes support for our network and multidisciplinary MDA Care Centers at top medical institutions nationwide, including the Billings Care Clinic. With new initiatives such as our MOVR data hub, we are uniquely positioned to advance more clinical trials and develop new standards of ALS treatment.

ALS takes away the freedom to walk, to talk, to eat, to breathe. In ALS, nerve cells called motor neurons inexplicably die, leading to weakness and eventual paralysis of all voluntary muscles, including those used for breathing and swallowing. There is no cure, and life span after diagnosis is typically three to five years, although some people live for decades with the disease. Due to the support MDA has received, we are living in a time of unprecedented progress in neuromuscular research, and we are able to increase our investment in finding tomorrows cures.

When you see MDA fundraisers in the community such as MDA Day at Fuel Fitness that was recently held or the raffle Montana Ace Hardware is sponsoring, and all of the upcoming Fill the Boots campaigns across Montana, know that your donation to MDA means we are one step closer to the next breakthrough. Thank you for your continued support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Together, let’s end ALS.

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Jeri Delys is the statewide development director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

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