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Charity supplies ALS patients with free equipment

FILE - In this Monday Dec. 26, 2016, file photo, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer speaks to the media after arriving with his team at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Once seen as a luxury of the corporate world, private planes are becoming increasingly common at U.S. colleges and universities as schools try to attract athletes, raise money and reward coaches with jet-set vacations. At Ohio State University, which leases one plane and partly owns another, Meyer and members of his family took more than 10 personal trips last school year, including a vacation in Florida, a weekend getaway to Cape Cod and a spring break in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

For patients with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the cost of necessary equipment can be exorbitant.

Enter the ALS Association of Arizona and the medical equipment loan closet.

“Inside that closet, we have power wheelchairs, ramps, bidets, handrails, bed rails. Everything needed as the patient progresses with the disease,” said Taryn Norely of the ALS Association of Arizona.

Norely estimated that her organization has about $70,000 worth of equipment in some patients’ homes.

ALS works slowly, affecting patients’ bodies, often leaving them paralyzed but their brain fully intact. Norely said her organization seeks to keep patients at home as long as possible.

“We have care services — a director and coordinator — and they will actually come out to your house, visit with you and assess the house,” she said. “They look at what you may need to help you get around your home. We really want to keep people independent so that they can stay at their homes and with their loved ones.”

Some ALS patients’ needs are not covered by Medicare or insurance.

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To donate to the ALS Association of Arizona, go to azals.org.

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