Almost two years ago, the Ice Bucket Challenge filled social media feeds with videos and ALS research with donations. The Challenge prompted athletes, celebrities, Internet personalities, and everyday people to post a video and donate to ALS research. This year, funds raised from the Challenge are being credited with allowing researchers to identify a common gene found to contribute to the disease.
ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the function of nerves and muscles that eventually leads to a wasting paralysis. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis affects 30,000 Americans with the condition at any given time, and 5600 are newly diagnosed each year. ALS kills an average of two out of every 100,000 people annually.
With the help of millions raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge a global gene sequencing project called Project MinE has taken a huge step in finding a common gene that is responsible for ALS. The project sequenced the genomes of over 15,000 people diagnosed with ALS. The project’s founder who also lives with ALS credits the Ice Bucket Challenge with securing the funding necessary to carry out the ground-breaking research. The discovery of the gene will provide important new therapies and medications that will treat those with ALS as well as predict an individual’s risk for developing the disease later in life.
NeedyMeds offers information on several programs that may be able to help those currently suffering and requiring assistance. Our ALS Resource Page has information and links to Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) for medications commonly prescribed to ALS patients, offering them to patients at low- or no cost. Our Diagnosis-Based Assistance (DBA) page for ALS has several national programs that offer everything from service animals to financial assistance for equipment or home modifications as well as information on the individual ALS Association chapters and other local resources. Additional assistance may also be found in our Chronic, Serious, or Life-Threatening Illness DBA page. NeedyMeds also has information on Scholarships for young ALS patients and those otherwise affected by the disease who are determined to continue their education.