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S&A Helps Children of Parents Afflicted With ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  Motor neurons extend from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.  The degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death.  The diagnosis, treatment and inevitable consequences of ALS are a traumatic experience for the patient and their family members.  Often overlooked are the children who live with a parent or a relative who has ALS.  So that kids can find help and support, the ALS Association, Northern Ohio Chapter (“Chapter”) organized a “Camp ALS” to help kids understand and cope with the impact of ALS on their family.  Camp ALS was conducted on Saturday, April 30, 2005 and included fifteen children.  S&A’s own attorney Eric E. Skidmore participated in the event.  “This was an absolutely sensational event . . . to interface with those who are the most innocent victims of ALS – the children”, said Eric.

ALS Kids CampThere were approximately 21 volunteers from the Chapter who hosted the event.  “I appeared at the event as a Lou Gehrig look-alike, complete with a vintage Gehrig baseball uniform and bat”, added Eric.

The Chapter developed activities for the children to improve their general understanding of ALS and provided an opportunity for the children to spend time with other children who are facing similar experiences.  Many of the kids participated in activities such as “motor neuron twister” and painted Tibetan prayer flags while the parents interacted separately with one another.  All of these activities were conducted in a baseball-like environment and the kids had fun learning while eating hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy.  “I gave the kids dozens of high five’s; we took pictures; they tugged my hat; and I gave them big LG hugs; and the smiles of those kids were intoxicating!” concluded Eric

The Camp ALS was made possible through a grant from the Hershey Foundation and was sponsored by the following: