On November 14, 2018, Tim Green, writer, lawyer, and former NFL player announced on Facebook that he has ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Shortly after that, he was on 60 Minutes, telling his story (see the clip below regarding that segment and background on it). Despite his days as a defensive lineman and linebacker possibly playing a role in him developing the disease, he has no regrets about playing the game in college and the NFL. He considers himself a very lucky man for being able to have lived the life he has. This is very reminiscent of Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell speech in 1939. Tim’s goals remain the same as before – to be the best father, husband, lawyer, and writer that he can be.
Tim Green’s outlook and courage are admirable. There is reason for optimism in the fight against ALS. The Ice Bucket Challenge began its association with ALS in 2014, and since that time, the ALS Association has reported receiving over $100 million dollars in donations related to the Challenge. Nearly two-thirds of that money has gone into ALS research.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one center of this research. Earlier this year, the school identified a gene connected to ALS. Researchers identified a cytoskeletal defect in the axon. This is a nerve fiber that projects from neurons and carries electrical impulses and other information in the form of proteins to muscles. Researchers believe that KIF5A, a protein-coding gene, is central to the understanding of ALS. ALS patients with a mutant KIF5A gene live longer than is typical of those with the disease.
ALS research has been underfunded relative to cancer and heart disease research. Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, and increased awareness, this is changing. A cure for ALS certainly seems possible, and even within reach.
SYNERGY HomeCare is proud to be able to provide support for people with ALS, and their families.