Honoring Our Veterans this 4th of July-and How to Help Vets Who are Suffering with ALS- Interview

Honoring Our Veterans this 4th of July-and How to Help Vets Who are Suffering with ALS- Interview

JULY 4TH– A Day to Celebrate Our Country & Honor Those Who Served in the Military and Special Recognition to the thousands of American Veterans Diagnosed with ALS1 (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Veterans Are Twice as Likely to Develop ALS as People Who Haven’t Served in the Military.2 As Independence Day is approaching, it’s a time to celebrate our nation and honor America’s military veterans.

While these brave men and women in the armed forces face many challenges including living with the wounds of war, PTSD, and adjusting back to civilian life, thousands of veterans also have been fighting a disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.1

Military veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as those who haven’t served in the military. 2 As this incurable, neurodegenerative disease progresses, patients lose their ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and eat.3

ALS Facts:

  • An estimated 5,000-6,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with ALS.4,5
  • Initial symptoms like muscle weakness, loss of balance, and slurred speech can be subtle at first, and it can take up to 12 to 14 months to be diagnosed with ALS.6,7
  • The majority of people with ALS die within two to five years of receiving a diagnosis, but the progression of the disease can vary significantly.4

Join me in a recent interview with Victor Collins as he discussed his perspective on living with ALS. Victor Collins will also talk about the importance of raising awareness of the disease among the veteran community and share his hope for the future.

Listen to the entire interview here:

For more information, go to alsveterans.com

Interview courtesy:  Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc.


Victor Collins is an African American veteran that served in the US Army and then served as an advocate for others for most of his life.  He was diagnosed with ALS in April 2019. For a person with ALS, he has a very positive attitude and is grateful for the treatment he is receiving at the VA.

Most veterans are not in the VA healthcare system when diagnosed with ALS, so Victor’s story represents a majority of veteran ALS patients.  Victor is still very focused on his health and treatment to have the best possible quality of life.

1 Schmidt, S., Allen, K. D., Loiacono, V. T., Norman, B., Stanwyck, C. L., Nord, K. M., Williams, C. D., Kasarskis, E. J., Kamel, F., McGuire, V., Nelson, L. M., & Oddone, E. Z. (2008). Genes and Environmental Exposures in Veterans with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: the GENEVA study. Rationale, study design, and demographic characteristics. Neuroepidemiology30(3), 191–204. https://doi.org/10.1159/000126911

2 Weisskopf M, Cudkoicz M, and Johnson N. (2015). Military service and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a population-based cohort. Epidemiology, 26(6), 831–838. http://doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0000000000000376.

3 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Information Page.

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/all-disorders/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis-als-information-page. Accessed May 2020.

4 Mehta P, Kaye W, Bryan L, et al. (2016). Prevalence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — United States, 2012– 2013.

5 Marin B, Boumediene F, Logroscino G, et al. (2016). Variation in worldwide incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a meta-analysis. Int J Epidemiol, 00:1-18.

6 Ganesalingam, J. & Bowser, R. The application of biomarkers in clinical trials for motor neuron disease. Biomark Med. 4, 281– 97 (2010).

7 Brooks BR. (2000). Risk factors in the early diagnosis of ALS: North American epidemiological studies. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Other Motor Neuron Disorders, 1:sup1, S19-S26




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Cynthia Tait

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