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Putting a face on ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease

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Reported by: Vicki Gonzalez
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Updated: 8/30 11:11 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) – Many celebrities have participated in an Ice Bucket Challenge to put the spotlight on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis —more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The challenge, promoted via social media, is a phenomenon that has raised nearly $80 million this August nationwide. With no definite causes and no current cure, ALS a debilitating disease that doesn’t discriminate.

Brian Collins, 46, was taking care of his ailing grandmother on the East Coast when the tables suddenly turned on him in fall 2013. He was forced to move back in with his parents in Las Vegas, and a tough reality soon began to take over.

His days as an independent adult were in the past. His body now works against his sharp mind, and it gets worse every day. "Noticed a little bit of weakness in my left hand,” Collins said. “I was dropping stuff that I never would have before." Collins said he had heard of ALS, but didn't understand its full scope until it began to take over his body.

The disease causes the motor neurons in a patient’s brain to gradually stop sending signals to the spine, paralyzing the body more and more as each day passes.

With no cure and an average life expectancy of two to five years, the reality has set in for Collins that the odds are against him. "Eventually you get to the point where pretty much you're trapped inside your own body,” he said. “A glorified human piece of furniture."

The paralysis likely will spread to his respiratory organs, taking away his ability to breathe. "It's a pretty horrific disease,” he said. “And I am going to fight it to the end.”

When asked about the Ice Bucket Challenge, Collins said he thinks it's a great idea and welcomes anything that raises awareness and starts a discussion that will get science closer to finding a cure.

Click this link to make a donation to ALS of Las Vegas.

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