By Debbie Gregory.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is now well known to many due to the bucket challenge a few years back.
In 2016, U.S. Army veteran Frankie Sanchez Sr. was diagnosed with the nerve condition, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.
The disease has left the 23-year veteran confined to a wheelchair. But on May 28th , Sanchez stood up for his son’s graduation from Air Force Basic Training.
The day before and extending into the morning of the graduation, Sanchez and his wife Christy were in the emergency room getting treatment for Frankie’s respiratory issue, unsure if they would be even be able to attend the ceremony.
Luckily, they not only made it, but Frankie Sanchez Sr. also managed to lift himself upright out of his wheelchair to tap his son out of attention.
It was a highly emotional moment for all.
With three sons, the couple has struggled since Sanchez’s diagnosis.
According to the ALS Association, the disease seems to strike veterans, particularly those deployed during the Gulf War, at twice the rate as the general population.
Once ALS starts, it almost always progresses, eventually taking away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe and shortening the life span. How fast and in what order this occurs is very different from person to person.
There is some evidence that people with ALS are living longer, at least partially due to clinical management interventions, riluzole and possibly other compounds and drugs under investigation.
Half of all people affected with ALS live at least three or more years after diagnosis. Twenty percent live five years or more; up to ten percent will live more than ten years.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help offset the cost of Sanchez’s care.