2020 is a milestone year for me as it marks my 20th year working to end ALS. Twenty years ago, there were less than 100 patients in our database, just two ALS clinics in North Carolina and very few active ALS research projects. When people called for help, I listened but could offer little help or hope. Undaunted, we pressed forward with partners around our state and throughout the country.
Fast forward 20 years and the landscape for ALS has changed dramatically. (When you read the word “we”, remember that this includes you!) We now provide support to more than 800 families through six ALS clinics, a telehealth clinic, 14 monthly connection groups and four medical equipment loan closets. We have provided millions of dollars in direct financial relief to North Carolina families. We are currently funding 169 research projects in 15 countries and there are several promising treatments in clinical trials. The quality of life for people living with ALS today is better in so many ways.
We are committed more than ever to our vision of creating a world without ALS. We have exciting new programs and events planned for this year.
* Our 7th multidisciplinary ALS clinic opened in Wilmington at New Hanover Regional Medical Center on February 27th.
* Our 2nd telehealth clinic will open at Atrium Health in Charlotte.
* 3 spring walks (Triangle 4/18, Winston-Salem 4/25 & Down East 5/2)
* 3 fall walks (Wilmington 9/26, Greensboro 10/10 & Charlotte 10/24)
* New events ALS TopGolf Challenge on 5/11 in Charlotte and Drive Shack in Raleigh in December.
* Introducing several program naming opportunities.
* Launching the Circle of Hope to recognize individuals who have committed annually to help us achieve our important priorities now and in the future.
You hold the key to helping us stop ALS once and for all. We are all in this together and we could not support all of these wonderful things without caring people like you who give generously of their time, talent and treasure.
This year, I challenge you to continue your involvement by volunteering, donating or participating in some way. Will you renew your commitment by registering your walk team again? As they say, many hands make for light work and if we all do our part, who knows where we will be in 20 years? I believe we will look back and marvel at the amazing things we will have achieved and we will all be grateful that ALS will be a disease of the past!
President & CEO, The ALS Association North Carolina Chapter