Recognizing Military Veterans Living with ALS in Honor of Veterans Day – Interview

Recognizing Military Veterans Living with ALS in Honor of Veterans Day – Interview

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U.S. Air Force Veteran Shares His Story of Living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – is a rapidly progressive, neurodegenerative disease.1 Those living with ALS eventually lose their ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow and eat.1 ALS can affect people of all races and ethnic backgrounds, but did you know that Veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS than those who haven’t served in the military?[i],[ii]  This Veterans Day, we honor those who have served in the U.S. armed forces and thank them for the sacrifices they’ve made to protect our country.

ALS Facts:

  • ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that can progress rapidly without treatment.1
  • An estimated 5,000-6,000 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year.[iii],[iv]
  • Initial symptoms like muscle weakness, loss of balance, and slurred speech can be subtle at first, and because of this, it can take up to 12 to 14 months to be diagnosed with ALS.[v],[vi]
  • The majority of people with ALS succumb to the disease two to five years after diagnosis, but disease progression can vary significantly across the patient population.[vii]

Join me in a recent interview with Juan Reyes,

a U.S. Air Force Veteran living with ALS, and an MTPA Patient Ambassador, and his wife and primary caregiver, Meg Reyes as they shared his story of living with ALS, discussed how he’s helping to spread awareness of this devastating disease among Veterans, and shared how others living with the disease can help support the ALS community.

See the entire interview here:

For more information, go to


Juan A. Reyes, USAF MSgt retired is an ardent advocate for those suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), having been diagnosed Oct. of 2015. Juan served 21 years in the United States Air Force as an Independent Duty Medical Technician.

Juan is focused on improving services, research and quality of life for ALS patients. He has shared insights with medical students and other healthcare professionals, enhancing understanding of ALS patient needs. His efforts have also taken him to our nation’s capital engaging elected officials on behalf of patients.

As a Patient Mentor Juan aids newly diagnosed patients navigate this devastating diagnosis. Juan actively serves on several committees locally and nationally. Juan resides with his family in Castroville, Texas.

Interview and article courtesy: of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc.


[i] “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, June 2013,

[ii] Weisskopf M, Cudkoicz M and Johnson N. (2015). Military service and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a population

    based cohort. Epidemiology, 26(6), 831–838.

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

[iv] 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.

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

[vi] 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.

[vii] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Information Page. Accessed Aug. 2022.

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Cynthia Tait

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