New support group for ALS patients and their caregivers

A new support group has been founded at Murray-Calloway County Hospital for patients with ALS and their caregivers and other supporters.

The group meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the MCCH Center for Health and Wellness. Organizers are Renee Buckingham and Mitzi Cathey.

“We have already had our first meeting and had great turnout,” Cathey said. “There is definitely a need here for a support group for ALS.”

The support group will regularly host guest speakers, including physicians, speech therapists and occupational therapists. While ALS is presently not curable, certain therapies have been proven to help manage the symptoms and provide comfort.

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

For more information on the ALS support group, contact Cathey at (270) 293-1748.