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Keep ALS dollars local

Published: Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

By now you have seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos of people getting doused with ice water and nominating others to embrace this call to action.

As the executive director of the Les Turner ALS Foundation, I am invigorated by this campaign, as it provides hope to the ALS community – hope that the dialogue around ALS will continue and funding will increase, long after the Ice Bucket Challenge has ended.

Since the challenge took off, we have raised more than $550,000, a nearly 600 percent increase over what we raised last year in the same time period.

When people donate to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, their contribution stays local. They are helping support three laboratories at Northwestern’s medical school, a patient center at Northwestern Medicine and services, such as home visits and support groups.

Critics of the campaign have said it fails to move the needle on awareness, so for those unsure of what ALS is, it’s a neuromuscular disorder that attacks a person’s muscles, gradually robbing them of their ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe, yet usually keeping their mind intact. Currently, there is no prevention or cure.

We are grateful for every donor and every dollar, as these funds guarantee our programs will continue and new programs can be created. However, readers need to know the millions of dollars referenced in the media will not benefit the Les Turner ALS Foundation, only those funds donated directly to us will be allocated toward our local programs.

Wendy Abrams

Executive director, Les Turner ALS Foundation

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