Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ALS Walk slated for Sept. 28

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Patients, families, employees and friends will Beat Feet for ALS at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at Augusta’s Riverwalk in an effort to raise money for the Georgia Regents ALS Clinic.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, named for the first baseman and power hitter for the New York Yankees. Gehrig was stricken with the neurodegenerative disease that causes muscular atrophy and forced into retirement at age 36. It claimed his life two years later.

Nearly 6,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year, and the life expectancy is just two to five years. But effects of the disease vary, and many people can live with quality for five years and more with the help of nationally accredited clinics like the one at Georgia Regents.

Formed in 2004 through a partnership between the Georgia Regents Neuroscience Center and the ALS Association of Georgia, the clinic serves about 100 ALS patients across the Southeast.  Because ALS patients lose the use of their muscles, it becomes difficult for them to make multiple trips for several appointments, so the clinic features a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and coordinated approach to patient care.  Patients can see their neurologists and nurses as well as physical, occupational and speech therapists, social workers, dietitians and respiratory therapists on the same day.

The clinical team sees patients on the second Friday of each month in Augusta and the last Friday of each month at a satellite clinic in Macon in order to assess disease progression, functional status, family concerns, and equipment and referral needs. Family and caregiver training are incorporated into the time spent with each patient. In addition, an ALS Support Group meeting is part of the monthly clinic experience.

“Insurance doesn’t always pay for multiple visits and additional services at the clinic, but studies have shown that being seen in a multidisciplinary clinic improves the longevity of patients – their health and quality of life,” said Dr. Michael H. Rivner, Medical Director of the ALS Clinic and Professor of Neurology for the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. “We hope to raise additional funds to meet our patients’ needs through this walk.”

To register for the walk or make a donation, visit walk.ALSGRU.com or contact Brandy Quarles at 706-721-2681 or bquarles@gru.edu. The walk is sponsored by Accredo, Allergan and Integrity Medical.

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