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The More You Know: ALS Awareness Month

What do you know about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more simply known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease?

This progressive neurodegenerative disease directly affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in the muscle deterioration and loss of movement. Although there are treatments available and plenty of active clinical studies, there is no cure for ALS.

When ALS begins, there is a high certainty that it will progress quickly with the majority of those diagnosed seeing almost immediate symptoms. Many of those affected lose strength in their muscles and become weaker; their movement is limited and their ability to live an independent life decreases. The largest differentiator amongst those diagnosed is how quickly symptoms can occur and the rate of progression. And, while the average survival time is three years, about 20% of people with ALS live five years, 10% survive 10 years, and 5% live 20 years or longer.2

Unfortunately, ALS chooses anyone, anywhere, at any time.

But, did you know that Veterans are twice as likely to develop this disease3 in comparison to those who have not served in the military? There is no clear understanding as to what causes ALS – 90 to 95% of all cases have been defined sporadic3 – nor is there reasoning behind why the number of Veterans diagnosed is greater.

In 2007, Brig. Gen. Thomas “Mik” Mikolajcik, USAF (Ret.), testified before Congress about ALS and said:

“If these soldiers were dying in the field – rather than quietly at home – we would leave no stone unturned. We would use the best existing resources to make sure they had whatever they needed to survive.”

– General “Mik”

With ALS being a threat to the Veteran community, First Nation Group is proactive in lessening the burden on this disease for our nation’s heroes by sharing critical resources:

“Towards the end, you are left almost incapable of communicating with the outside world except through your eyes.”

Chris Mulholland, VFW National Deputy Chief of Staff + VFW Post 2894 Life member

First Nation Group stands behind those working to discover treatments and a cure for ALS. We support those who serve and advocate for Veterans impacted and hope to empower those diagnosed to live their lives to the fullest with the help of products, services, and resources available.

ALS poses challenges for clinicians across a broad spectrum, from diagnosis to treatment along every point of the disease horizon.
Find out how First Nation Group can be your partner in addressing evaluation, airway clearance, and ventilation support for your Veterans with ALS.
Learn More about Patient Solutions

1. Mulholland, C. (2021, October 28). ALS is Killing Veterans. MilitaryTimes –,new%20cases%20diagnosed%20each%20year.
2. Stages of ALS (n.d.). The ALS Association. Retrieved March 28, 2023 –
3. Understanding ALS (n.d.). Understanding Veterans’ Risk for ALS. I Am ALS. Retrieved March 28, 2023 –