"Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed."
Yet the brain remains totally active, totally cognizant of the here and now, just helpless to do anything about it. No blissful unawareness here.
I was only in contact with Jerry as the end drew near, yet I can say with near certainty that his main concern was not for himself, but the suffering his family was going through as they stood by helplessly, praying for some kind of last minute miracle medical breakthrough.
Jerry also wanted people to become aware of ALS and its seemingly random strikes into families everywhere. He wanted people to know that they are still searching for a cure, or even a way to alleviate the devastating symptoms. He wanted so desperately for other families not to go through what his own has.
Jerry was asking that we support the Walk to Defeat ALS.
Jerry's sister Rose again is the captain for Jerry's Journey, one team among many at this years Walk to Defeat ALS on August 4th in Delaware Park. She is also the co-chair (along with Diane Piegza). From her walk page (where you can donate, if you will):
"He was so brave when he faced ALS. He didn't complain nor did he pity himself. Jerry was out partying at Thursday in the Square shortly before he died. He wanted to live his life to the fullest for as long as he could. He took the bull by the horns and tried to do what he could for his friends and his family to help all of us deal with his illness. Then he took up the cause for those who were afflicted with ALS and those who were not yet diagnosed. He fought hard and never gave up. He cheered us all on while we tried to raise money for our walk team and he was sending us all emails till the very end to bring it home!
We need to bring it home again this year. Please help us continue Jerry's Journey. Anything and I mean ANYTHING you can do to help is greatly appreciated. I was lucky to have been able to tell him what he meant to me. He was my hero, my big brother, my protector. I always looked up to him and idolized him and I will never forget him. I ask you to never forget him as well!"Please donate!! Or join the team!! Do it for Jerry and for all those who have passed before from this dread disease and will continue to do so before they find a cure ...he would have done it for you!