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Health Issues

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Living your Life

While ALS is not as common as many diseases, there are many well-known people who have had the disease.

• Hall-of-Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig
• Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter
• Senator Jacob Javits
• Actors Michael Zaslow and David Niven,
• Sesame Street creator of Jon Stone
• Television producer Scott Brazil
• Boxing champion Ezzard Charles
• NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley
• Pro football player Glenn Montgomery
• Golfer Jeff Julian and golf caddie Bruce Edwards
• British soccer player Jimmy Johnstone
• Musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter)
• Photographer Eddie Adams
• Entertainer Dennis Day
• Jazz musician Charles Mingus
• Composer Dimitri Shostakovich
• Former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace
• U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor


No matter if you are a world famous athlete or the average person on the street, a diagnosis of ALS is devastating. As a progressive disease, the person with ALS will weaken and lose more and more muscle strength and independence as the disease progresses. From the muscle weakness of the early symptoms to the progression of weakness and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and eventually the speech, swallowing and eventually breathing, the person will ALS will require increasing levels of care.

Another large part of living with disease is the use and cost of medical care, home medical equipment and the cost of home health caregivers. It is important to know as much about your health plan coverage and other programs for which you may be eligible as you can. You will need to be your own best advocate or the advocate for someone with the disease. Contact the Social Security Administration, Medicare, Veterans Affairs and any other group or organization that may be of assistance. Use the internet to find more information and support.