University of Montana students from both Phi Delta Theta and the UM National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association volunteered at the 10th-annual Walk to Defeat ALS last Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.
The walk's purpose is to raise money for ALS treatment and research for a cure.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive disease that degenerates motor neurons in the brain. The degeneration causes patients to slowly lose the ability to control muscles voluntarily and leads to eventual paralysis.
Dean Mikes, a retired clinical pharmacist with ALS said, "I will say today that there is hope. Hope in the genetic links that are tied to this disease and what they're doing with CRISPR technology."
CRISPR stands for "clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats," and is a recently discovered gene-editing technology. Recently it was used to discover which genes are responsible for ALS.
The walk is organized every year by the ALS Association Evergreen Chapter. According to the Evergreen Chapter's development director Amara Bates this year’s walk raised $53,277; 86% of the funds raised stay local and go toward treatment and equipment.