Couple coping with ALS talks about the disease and upcoming Myrtle Beach event

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Chapter of the ALS Association is hosting the “Walk to Defeat ALS” at Grand Park at The Market Common Saturday. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., the walk starts at 10:00 a.m.

Tim Ritter and his wife Marie were on News13 Now Friday to talk about the event as well as the disease itself and the importance of finding a cure. Tim, a military veteran and former professor at UNC Pembroke, was diagnosed with ALS March 11, 2015. He said he first noticed something was wrong when he struggled to pick up a piece of chalk from the ground.

According to the ALS Association, muscle weakness is the most common initial symptom with ALS. Other symptoms can include: tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches, and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying.

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is 100% fatal
  • There are zero effective treatments for ALS
  • ALS affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord
  • Military veterans are twice as likely to get ALS
  • ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70
  • Approximately 20,000 Americans are living with ALS at any given time
  • 5,000 people are diagnosed per year
  • 2-5 years is the average life expectancy after diagnoses
  • Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed and someone passes away
  • Only 1 drug is currently approved by the FDA for ALS (Riluzole extends survival by a few months)
  • ALS is difficult to diagnosed and is often done so by ruling out other diseases, which may take months or years

For more information about ALS go to alsa.org. For more information about the event, contact Linda Trumbauer at lzulli-trumbauer@scalsa.org.