ALS was first described in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn't until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease when he abruptly retired from baseball after being diagnosed with ALS. Most commonly, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. The ALS Association, a proud member of Community Health Charities, is the only national organization fighting ALS on every front.
In 2013, an estimated 5,600 men and women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS attacks the neurons that control muscular movement, impairing the patient’s ability to walk, use their arms, swallow and eventually breathe. ALS is always fatal – life expectancy is two to five years from diagnosis.