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Charity supplies ALS patients with free equipment

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speak at a news conference after a man fatally stabbed two men Friday on a light-rail train when they tried to stop him from yelling anti-Muslim slurs at two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, in Portland, Ore., Saturday, May 27, 2017. Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was booked on suspicion of aggravated murder and attempted murder in the attack and will make a first court appearance Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

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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