ALS in Our Community


The Schlesinger family (top left to right) Michael, Lisa, Jenna, Megan, and (center) David.
Photo Courtesy of Megan Schlesinger
The Schlesinger family (top left to right) Michael, Lisa, Jenna, Megan, and (center) David.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, is a disease which affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. David Schlesinger, father of freshman Jenna Schlesinger and junior Megan Schlesinger was diagnosed with this disease last year.

Since Schlesinger was diagnosed, “My dad can’t drive anymore and can only leave the house on occasion,” said Megan. This disease caused a lot of aspects of their lives to change. Their mom has started taking on a lot more house-hold tasks and has had to hire a care-taker. The care-taker comes to the house Monday-Friday every week to help out with their dad.

“This has made it a more independent environment,” said Megan. Megan has begun driving herself more places and taking her sister to and from school. Being able to drive helps Megan and Jenna get to places easier and allows them to help out their mom. Both daughters have adapted to these changes but are still having to adjust to some parts.

This summer, a trend called “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” began. This trend was started in order to raise awareness for ALS and ended up taking over all of social media. The challenge was to pour a bucket of ice water onto your head or to donate money to the ALS foundation. Schlesinger thinks the challenge “is great and is very happy about it,” said Jenna. Both daughters think the challenge has raised a lot of positive attention and awareness toward the disease. The challenge raised more money than ever imagined, and as of September 7, 2014; the challenge raised $110.5 million in donations.

“My dad was very emotional about the challenge and was thankful for the honor,” said Megan. Megan also got to participate in helping with the FCPS’s Super Intendant’s Ice Bucket Challenge.

The easiest way to raise awareness is by putting your ideas out there, contacting friends and using social media. There are plenty of ways to raise awareness, such as, “an ALS run,” said Megan Schlesinger. People need to continue putting their ideas out there to make a change.

ALS is a disease which takes over every part of a person’s everyday life. The Schlesinger’s are not alone in the fight to end it and have support from many people through every step of the fight.