Amongst all the things to celebrate in May, we want to take a moment to shed some light on a cause close to our heart. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). May is ALS Awareness month and for good reason. There is little known about this disease and even less awareness. It’s not a pretty subject, but one that needs conversation.
Aside from a spike in 2012, there has been zero growth in the number of people diagnosed with ALS. The reason being, that for every diagnosis (one every 90 minutes), another person loses their fight against the disease. That’s a staggering statistic.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord, then from the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. As motor neurons die, the person living with ALS loses control of their muscle function. So, a person living with ALS loses the ability to perform the most basic of tasks, like putting on a pair of socks.
If this weren’t enough, the brain is completely unaffected and remains completely intact.
ALS can look different case-by-case, but on average, the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with this disease is 2 - 5 years. It is an aggressive disease that quickly affects a person’s quality of life. Even so, there has been little to no development in finding a cure for ALS in 18 years. 18 years. There is only one drug on the market and it was introduced almost two decades ago.
The misconception is that this disease strikes later in life. That, however, is not always the case. There are many people living with ALS that received their diagnosis in their 20’s. We’re friends with one such person.
Kevin Swan was diagnosed with ALS before his 30th birthday. He was in the prime of life. After graduating from Arizona State University, Kevin took a summer internship with Blender magazine in New York City. He promptly set down roots in the concrete jungle with no formal job lined up and nowhere to live. He found himself on Madison Avenue working in the cutthroat world of NYC advertising. His advertising gig was followed by a stint at a “fledgling” television company. From there, he headed to the Windy City. While in Chicago, Kevin worked as a Director of Communications for an infrastructure provider. He moved back to his native Florida once he was diagnosed with ALS.
Kevin’s diagnosis has not stopped him. In fact, it’s fueling him. Kevin knows better than anyone the bleak landscape of this disease. He does not choose to accept it. He started A Life Story to increase awareness of ALS and to raise money for research for a cure. His mission is to create awareness one story at a time and to obliterate this disease.
We’re inspired by Kevin’s tenacity and determination to make strides in ALS research and to provide a cure for the 30,000 Americans living with ALS. We are joining the fight. Be on the lookout for a sock dedicated to A Life Story Foundation. The sock will be sold exclusively on richer-poorer.com and all proceeds will go to A Life Story Foundation.
For more information, or to donate, visit A Life Story