Woman with ALS receives wheelchair accessible van
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A woman who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) received a special gift today.
Peggy Richardson, of Columbus, Georgia, who was diagnosed with the disease last year, was given a wheelchair accessible van thanks to a well-meaning benefactor whose wife also suffered from ALS before recently passing away.
Richardson was overcome with emotion as she was given the keys to the 2004 Dodge, and knows the vehicle will now allow her to become mobile once again.
“I was stuck in the house, couldn’t do anything,” Richardson said. “So I couldn’t go out and enjoy my family, so now I can. And the most important thing, I used to love to go to church. I can go to church now.”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to limit muscle functions.
“In the state of Georgia, we believe there are about 600 patients right now who have ALS,” said Dr. Michael Rivner, the director of the ALS Clinic at the Rehabilitation Hospital, Navicent Health. “Not all of them are diagnosed early, because sometimes patients have these problems and they are incorrectly diagnosed.”
Dr. Rivner also said about 200 new cases of ALS occur every year in the state.
While there is no cure, the symptoms can be managed with proper care.