Walk to Defeat ALS

Cerna Home Care lent their support, time and hearts to the 2016 Irvine Walk to Defeat ALS. It is the ALS Association’s biggest annual event to raise funds for local chapters. The funds raised from the walk sustain care services and support research for much of the following year.

For Cerna Home Care, the Irvine Walk to Defeat ALS® was so much more than a few-mile trek. It was an opportunity to foster ALS awareness, raise money for a cure, and to come together for two people Cerna cares about – Raven and Tom.

Walking for Raven

Roxanne is a valued administrative team member at Cerna Home Care’s Irvine headquarters. Her sister Raven was diagnosed with ALS in 2013. Every ALS diagnosis is devastating. In Raven’s case it was more so because of her age. She was only 33 at the time. The average age of those who develop ALS is 55.

Raven lives at a skilled nursing facility. There, she does her best to keep her spirits up with a lot of help from friends and family. The disease has progressed to the point where Raven is on a ventilator; she requires total care and assistance.

Roxanne said, “Raven loves music. It helps her get through the day. When I told her Cerna was dedicating the Irvine ALS walk to her, she was proud and happy.”

Walking for Tom

Tom volunteered his time at Cerna. Every week, Tom spent time with Michael, a Cerna care recipient who suffered a traumatic brain injury 30 years ago. They would go for lunch, on walks and excursions like watching Angels’ baseball. Tom is also a very close friend of Marc Friedman, Cerna Home Care’s Senior Vice President.

About a year ago, symptoms Tom was experiencing (numbness and pain in extremities) proved to be the onset of ALS. The disease is moving rapidly. Three months ago, Tom was working full-time. One month ago, he was driving. Today, he has lost all motor function and needs assistance for most of life’s daily functions we take for granted.

The Cerna Foundation has been providing support not covered by insurance. The foundation will also be integral in moving Tom to the right residential care facility.

Of his friend Tom, Marc says, “Tom brightens the days, and lives, of everyone he engages with. All who know him personally are blessed with his genuine friendship as there is no other like it.”

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l to r: Tom, Michael and Marc at an Angel’s game

Hope for a Cure

Raven and Tom are just 2 of the 30,000 Americans affected by ALS. The 2016 Irvine Walk to Defeat ALS was a poignant day for Cerna Home Care, who raised $1000. However, it was also filled with hope. Each research dollar raised, and each new day, brings hope for a cure.

What is ALS?  

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. For unknown reasons, veterans are twice as likely to develop ALS as the general population. There is no cure, and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) modestly extends survival.

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