Eric Von Schaumburg's Fight with ALS
On the night of June 19, 2013, Eric was diagnosed with ALS commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, eventually paralyzing the patient, while their mind remains completely intact. They are, essentially, trapped in their no longer functional body. The average life expectancy is 2-5 years from first symptoms (March 2013 for Eric).
Everything began a few months prior when he noticed his speech beginning to slur. He eventually was referred to a neurologist. After examining an MRI and blood work, the doctor found no abnormalities. The doctor's diagnosis was based on Eric's dysarthria (speaking problems), tongue and body fasciculations (muscle twitching) and excessive saliva. Any other disease causing these same symptoms would have shown up on the brain/spine MRI or through the blood work they tested. ALS is referred to as an "exclusionary diagnosis" because there is no one test that can diagnose an individual.
Although there is no cure for ALS, there have been tremendous breakthroughs in recent years that may help slow down and even reverse progression of the disease. Because these treatments are still in clinical trial stages, we have participated in 2 trials and are now looking into other treatment options. Many of the experimental treatments and surgeries, as well as top of the line equipment for quality of life improvement, are not covered by insurance and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We have and will be holding future fundraisers to help cover Eric's medical expenses. We will continue to update everyone through this website and through our Facebook page. Check the Battle Updates section for written blog updates from Eric and check our Join the Fight and Events sections for updates on how you can support Eric.
The support Eric and our family have received from everyone so far has truly been unbelievable! Thank you all!