Every day, on the news, in your social media feeds, on the radio, or reading the newspaper, we learn about the devastating effects of diseases like ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and the hardship they place on individuals and their loved ones. We learn that the fear and pain associated with the disease itself compete with the rising medical care costs that become nearly intolerable. We learn that many of these diseases, like ALS, have no known cure, and place enormous strain on families that are affected. This is where organizations like the ALS Association come in. The ALS Association provides funding to find a cure for ALS, support for those affected and their loved ones, and assistance programs to help cover medical costs.
You may be asking yourself about now, “Why are you telling me all of this? I don’t know anyone affected by ALS, nor do I care about it.” Well, imagine that you were the one affected. Imagine your doctor tells you one day, after months of pain and difficulty walking, that you have ALS. Furthermore, imagine the doctor tells you that people diagnosed with ALS typically only have 2-5 years to live from the time of diagnosis. How would you feel then? That is exactly what happened to Versa’s Andy Kates recently. He learned that the issues he was having were indeed a result of ALS.
It is difficult to imagine what goes through your head at a time like that. What do you think about next? Who do you tell? Do you reach out for support? What do you do? We, at Versa Integrity Group, will not let one of our own fight this disease without getting in the fight ourselves. This is precisely why we want to reach out to Versa, One Versa, and ask for your help. We have set up a Walk to Defeat ALS Team to participate in the upcoming Greater Houston Walk in September. We will also be sponsoring the Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter of the ALS Association. The Walk that they put on is in October. Whichever geographic area of the company you work out of, think about getting involved in one of these walks, or both!
In a few weeks, we will be sending out another newsletter with more information on how you can sign up and how to donate. Thank you everyone for your support and donations!
Here is Andy’s story:
Around the start of 2017 I noticed that my balance was not as good as usual. Shortly after my left leg started acting a bit off but I could still walk no problem. While I could walk there was no way that I could run or jump so I decided to go to the Doctor after Mardi Gras. My first visit was to a general practitioner who thought that it could be lot of things or nothing and scheduled me for blood tests, back X-Rays, and, an appointment with a Neurologist. After two neurology visits, many more blood tests, and, 3 MRI’s, I was looking forward to the EMG test that would be a couple months later. That day finally came on June 9. I thought that we were finally going to figure out my problem and start getting better. After the EMG tests, the Neurologist made a point to meet with us after. In that meeting he gave us the diagnosis of ALS, a folder with ALS information, and, talked a little about the clinic. Needless to say, that was devastating. I went in thinking that I would be getting better and was essentially told that not only would I not get better, but likely would get much worse.
Since that time, I have learned more about the disease and found that it is different for each individual. Also, there is quite an ALS community with researchers and clinics throughout the country. I am trying to review the information on different clinical trials and will try to enter one that seems promising. Hopefully I can get treatment before my symptoms become worse.
Business Development Manager – Rope Division