About ALS

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a disease that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body that we are typically able to move at will. Over time, as the muscles of the body break down, someone living with ALS will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow, and eventually breathe.
  • ALS can affect anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity or age. It most often affects people aged 40-60.
  • Only about 5 to 10 per cent of ALS cases are inherited from a family member.
  • An estimated 3,000 Canadians are currently living with ALS--400 of which are living in BC.
  • Each year approximately 1,000 Canadians die from ALS. A similar number of Canadians are diagnosed with ALS each year.
  • 80 per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of being diagnosed.
  • There are few effective treatments for ALS and no cure.
  • ALS has an estimated cost to families of $150,000 to $250,000. This includes the loss of salary that often comes about when a family member leaves their job to care for their loved one full-time.


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