In March 2018, our family was devastated to learn that Michael Mercogliano - or "Pappy" as he is lovingly referred to within our family - has ALS.
WHAT IS ALS?
As many of you probably already know, ALS is a progressive, fatal, neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. There is no cure. ALS does not discriminate; it can strike a person of any gender, any age, or any background, at at any time.
The care for an ALS patient costs a family an average of $250,000 a year. A person living with ALS will at some point require around-the-clock care, an electric wheelchair, a home that has been retrofitted for handicap accessibility and lifts, a wheelchair-accessible and ventilator-equipped van, and a tracheotomy - just to name a few. Only a portion of these expenses are covered by Medicare or private insurance.
THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE ALS ASSOCIATION
As our family struggled to adapt to our "new normal" after Pappy's diagnosis, we discovered the Florida chapter of the ALS Association, and some of the invaluable resources it provides to so many ALS victims and their families:
Treatment centers, which allow a person living with ALS to receive coordinated care from several specially-trained doctors and therapists during a single visit.
Equipment loan programs, which provide temporary loaner equipment to patients who are uninsured, underinsured, who cannot access their insurance (while in a nursing home or hospice).
Visiting volunteer programs, which match trained volunteers to ALS families, and help fulfill the everyday duties that so many struggle with.
Research programs, which fuel global collaboration to expedite medical research, the discovery of new treatments, and to find a cure.
WHY WE ARE WALKING
Our family is walking in the Walk to Defeat ALS® for so many reasons.... To help raise awareness of this horrible disease.... To support an organization that provides a ray of hope and brightness in so many families' darkest hours.... To help facilitate a program for the sharing of medical equipment for those in need.... To help find a cure.... But most of all, we walk for Pappy.
Please consider joining our team in the Walk to Defeat ALS® or choose a team member from the list and donate to the cause.