Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This Is An Example Of The Problem Posed By The Disease With The Impossible Name

Whoops... last night it seemed that this was another great example of MLB's contribution to ALS awareness. This morning the big error in the MLB story was pointed out by a reader. Ryan Zimmerman's mother has MS, not ALS. And so it goes with the problem of the "letter diseases." Even one of the biggest advocates for ALS, MLB, confused ALS with another letter disease. If MLB can't keep it straight, you know we're fighting an uphill battle!

I should have paid closer attention. If she had ALS, it would have been ZiALS foundation and not ZiMS foundation. Duh.

Thank heavens for Lou Gehrig or ALS wouldn't have name that anyone would remember.

Thanks to MLB for raising an incredible amount of ALS awareness on July 4 and for continuing to communicate moving and informative stories with an ALS connection. Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals, a first-time All Star, is featured.

Being at his first All-Star Game is even more special because his mother, Cheryl, will be in attendance. Cheryl has been afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis since 1995. ALS is an unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system.
During the first five years of her illness, Cheryl was able to work as a teacher, but it grew worse by 2000. She is now confined to a wheelchair. Ryan said Cheryl's illness helped him become even keel throughout his life. It explains why one never sees him get angry with the media or with umpires in public. "That's a big part of it." Ryan said. "Me and my brother [Shawn] had to do some things that younger kids wouldn't have to do. We were not the only kids that ever had to deal with something like that. That added to my [composure]. I don't get too high or too low. "Before that, that's the way we were brought up. That's the way my parents were when we were young. I just think it rubbed off on us."

Cheryl continues to hang in there. Today she is one of the Board of Directors of ziMS Foundation, which raises money to help find a cure for ALS. Ryan is the president of the foundation. Asked how Cheryl is doing these days, Ryan said, "It's nothing really. It's just kind of steady. There is no cure, there is nothing, so it's the same thing every day. Obviously, we have dealt with it for a long time. It's almost second nature to us.

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