May 6, 2024

The Impact of ALS

In honor of ALS Awareness Month, the team and supporters of the ALS Center of Excellence shared their takes on the impact of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Rita and Dr. Randall Whitcomb

Rita Whitcomb, a supporter of the ALS Center of Excellence in honor of her husband, Dr. Randall Whitcomb:

"We were waiting for my husband Randy to be seen in the Pranger ALS Clinic and a couple entered the waiting room with the wife holding a baby and the husband operating his wheelchair and using a Tobii Dynavox device.  It was clear he had ALS. I thought to myself how lucky my family was to have the resources we have, but I wondered how this young family was going to deal with all of the incredible burden that comes with this disease."

Dr. Feldman

Eva Feldman, MD, PhD, Director of the ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine:

"ALS impacts families mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. We thank Scott Pranger for funding services in our ALS clinic to reduce these burdens and make ALS a more livable disease."
Read more about Scott Pranger's impact, and why he was inspired to help.

Pranger ALS Clinic Director Dr. Stephen Goutman
Dr. Goutman

Stephen Goutman, MD, MS,  Director of the Pranger ALS Clinic at Michigan Medicine:

“Time and time again we see the power of people. In the face of this very difficult disease, we see the strength and ingenuity of those suffering from ALS.  We also see the incredible impact that families and communities can have rallying around those with the disease.  Whether it is time, support or donations, we need to remember the difference each one of us can make in the fight against ALS.” 

photo of Sandy Lemkin
Sandy Lemkin

Sandy Lemkin, BBA, BSN, RN, Pranger ALS Clinic Clinical Care Coordinator:

"Besides the apparent physical impact of ALS there is also an emotional impact not only on the patients themselves but also the patient’s family, friends, and caregivers.  In our clinic we not only treat the patient we also are there to navigate the emotional aspect of the disease with all those involved with caring for the patient."

photo of Darla Goulet
Darla Goulet

Darla Goulet, MSW, Social Worker at the Pranger ALS Clinic:

"Most ALS families do not have long-term care policies to cover care in the home, nor do they have the financial means to cover the cost, which leaves families with very few options.  I work with families every week who are struggling to come up with a caregiving plan, especially if the spouse works outside of the home or the spouse is unable to provide care due to their own health issues.  Many people think Medicare will cover most of their home healthcare costs, but it does not cover this type of service.  In Michigan, the average cost for a home health aide is approximately $30.00 per hour, with a minimum of 3-4 hours. Financial hardship often becomes part of the ALS journey."