Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) April 30, 2014
The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) announced today that it has added four new representatives to be ambassadors of its Young Faces of ALS (YFALS) campaign: Patrick Quinn from Yonkers, NY; Sarah Coglianese from San Francisco, CA; Teresa Thurtle from Las Vegas, NV; and Matthew Bellina from Skillman, NJ. Quinn, Coglianese, Thurtle, and Bellina were chosen for their commitment to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and for their dedication to foster a community where young people affected by the disease can find support and get involved to help end ALS.
The YFALS program is driven by several ALS patients diagnosed with the disease before or around the age of 30, along with family members and friends of people living with ALS. The young men and women selected to lead the campaign are called “YFALS Ambassadors,” and together they participate in awareness campaigns via the YFALS Facebook page, YFALS website, and within their communities. Additionally, these ambassadors hope to encourage greater action to support on-going drug development at ALS TDI, which has the sole mission to discover and develop effective treatments for ALS patients today.
The four new ambassadors added to the program embody the spirit and goal of the YFALS campaign:
Quinn, Coglianese, Thurtle and Bellina join 10 other YFALS ambassadors: Alex Grausnick from Shoreview, MN; Alyssa Reardon from Plantation, FL; Corey Reich from Piedmont, CA; Ian Hogg from Birmingham, AL; Katie Shambo from Merrimack, NH; Kelly Hilinski from Sherman Oaks, CA; Kevin Swann from Chicago, IL; Kristen Sauer from Waupun, WI; Kristin Quinn from Arlington, VA; and Sam Ketchum from Newton, MA.
In 2010, YFALS Ambassadors participated in several 4ALS Day events at MLB® ballparks, and in 2011, the campaign expanded to include a national “Corntoss Challenge” in cities nationwide.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis, due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cure for the disease. About 5,000 people in the US are diagnosed with ALS each year; the incidence is similar to multiple sclerosis. However, with no effective treatment, the average patient survives only 2-5 years following diagnosis. While exact figures are unknown, it is estimated that there are about 30,000 people in the US diagnosed with ALS today. The worldwide population of ALS patients is estimated at 450,000.
About ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)
The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to discover and develop effective treatments for ALS patients today as soon as possible. ALS TDI is the world’s largest independent ALS/MND drug development-focused nonprofit organization. In addition to more than 30 internal therapeutic aimed programs, the world’s first nonprofit biotech partners with dozens of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide in order to advance potential treatments into the clinic. Its lead ALS therapeutic candidate, Novartis’ (Switzerland) Gilenya (TDI-132), is in Phase 2A clinical trial for ALS. For more information on its drug development programs, visit http://www.als.net.