DALLAS, Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On February 8, The ALS Association and its Texas Chapter will honor two Texans who are bravely battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, during the 3 rd Annual Luncheon for Heroes Living with ALS.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.
The luncheon is the highlight of The Association's Leadership Summit where the organization's Trustees and members of the Board of Representatives convene with chapter employees and National Office staffers. The event pays tribute to people living with ALS who have made "an indelible impact on The ALS Association and the community-at-large." Those honored at the event have inspired the ALS community as they have promoted awareness of Lou Gehrig's Disease and have sought to improve the lives of those with ALS.
Honorees at this event are Michael Jaillet of Round Rock, and Linda Allen of Arlington. Jaillet was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease in June 2011. The 43-year-old father of three has worked with the chapter to spread ALS awareness in his community, and his family foundation, MJ's Army, has raised more than $100,000 that has gone toward ALS research and support to help others with the disease." Michael Jaillet is one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet," said Texas Chapter Executive Director David Chayer. "He is making a difference through his support of advocacy and research." Like her fellow honoree, Allen has collaborated with the chapter for myriad events, including the Walk to Defeat ALS®. She and her late husband Marshall Allen, who died from the disease in 2000, launched a predecessor to the Texas Chapter, The North Texas Chapter, more than 15 years ago and served on its Board of Trustees. Allen was also executive director at the North Texas Chapter from 1999 – 2001. In addition, worked as program manager for "Extra Hands for ALS," where she educated high school and college students about Lou Gehrig's Disease and converted them to volunteers for previous Walks to Defeat ALS. " Linda Allen is the epitome of grace and inspiration," Chayer said. "Through her quiet strength, vision and determination, she has helped thousands of families in North Texas affected by ALS – including her own." Jaillet admits he has the "slow progressing" form of the disease, which has affected his right arm and prevents him from using his right hand. The disease has impacted Allen's ability to move, eat, speak and breathe. She utilizes multiple devices to assist her with daily living activities, including manual and electric wheelchairs, feeding tube, a bi-pap machine for breathing, and an iPad for communication.