ALS did not get the memo that COVID-19 entered our lives earlier this year. ALS did not stop impacting the 600+ people living with ALS and their loved ones here in North Carolina. So, we did not stop working for them. The ALS Association North Carolina Chapter was created to support and care for the ALS community in North Carolina. We are determined to be there for them, especially now when they need us more than ever.
COVID-19 poses an unparalleled threat to people living with ALS, an especially vulnerable population that must continue to take every precaution to safeguard their respiratory health. People living with ALS and their caregivers will not be able to adjust to the new normal like most of us. They simply cannot risk exposure.
Even as the pandemic recedes, those living with ALS will still need to shelter-in-place, isolated with the burdens of a disease that tests them physically, emotionally, and financially every day.
In response to the changing environment, we came up with a plan to do everything possible to continue ALL of our services. It was not easy, but we stay committed to deliver the results our families rely on us to provide.
We are fortunate to have generous corporate partners and donors, as well as amazing volunteers, staff and our board who work so hard, to support our efforts. We are also privileged to have a Medical Advisory Council made up of our clinic directors, community care providers and chapter leaders, to provide a forum to share ideas and best practices. This has been invaluable during the pandemic.
We have adapted and taken measures to deliver the best possible care, while keeping everyone as safe as possible.
• Our 7 ALS Clinic partners continue to operate through a combination of in person and telehealth visits.
• Our connection groups have shifted to all telephone and online options.
• Our medical equipment loan program is fully operational.
• Our patient financial grant program provided much needed help for home modifications, medications, nutrition, in home care and more.
• Our Peer Support program has been helpful for many during this time of isolation.
In fact, we are not just maintaining our services, we have dramatically increased our communication and outreach during the pandemic by 63% through telephone and virtual connections.
Our mission is to discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest. Our mission has not changed. Because in the end, ALL people need hope, ALL people need kindness, ALL people need love and ALL people need to know that they are not alone. It is the supporters before, during and after this pandemic, that ensures the fight for effective treatments and a cure for ALS will continue. Only together can we defeat ALS!