New ALS treatment provides optimism for afflicted patients

ST. LOUIS - The ALS Association will raise buckets of ice to support families challenged by the disease.  The Third Annual Ice Bucket Challenge will fund research and other resources needed by ALS patients.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or "Lou Gehrig Disease") is a progressive fatal neurological muscular disease and is hard to predict how quickly the disease will advance.

ALS patient Bud Sowell was diagnosed four years ago.

“It's tough. I've been able to come to grips with it," he said.

Sowell and his wife, Lori, are raising two daughters while challenged by ALS.

A patient will lose the ability to swallow food and eventually the ability to breathe.  Lori Sowell, Buds wife describes how the disease is robbing him of his ability to function, to eat, to walk and to take care of himself.

According to Maureen Hill, CEO of the ALS Association St. Louis Chapter, patients and advocates are optimistic about Radicava. Radicava is the first new treatment in decades.

“It's not going to cure the disease, but it is likely to stop the disease's progression,” Hill said.

Bud has not used the new drug, but the Sowells look at their ALS challenge with optimism.

“We're fortunate that he's here and been around for all the events with our kids; they're in college now," Lori said.

According to the ALS Association, about a quarter to a half of the people diagnosed with ALS become malnourished. It was found that those that are nourished with these supplements can live up to three times longer than those that are malnourished.

To support the ALS Nutrition Program, people will pay to watch five people get an icy shock. This year’s party for a purpose includes Bernie Federko, Cindy Preszler, Darin Slyman, John 'Mo' Mozeliak, and Rusty Keeley.

It's not too late to support the 2017 Ice Bucket Bash. The event is set for Friday, November 17 at the Coronado St. Louis.