Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a disease that has affected Penguins forward Craig Adams
and his wife Anne on a very personal level.
That’s because Anne’s father, Paul Cellucci, was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago and has been living with it since.
“(The fight to defeat ALS) is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” Adams told KDKA in an interview earlier this summer.
He said that for his father-in-law, the former governor of Massachusetts and U.S. ambassador to Canada, living with ALS has been “extremely difficult.”
“It’s a disease that’s very hard to live with,” Adams said. “There’s no treatment; there’s no cure. Each day is tough and gets tougher.”
Christi Kolarcik, a member of the Board of Directors for the Western Pennsylvania chapter of The ALS Association, appeared on KDKA with Adams and explained how the disease affects ALS patients.
“Basically, the cells that are affected are your nerve cells, in particular your motor neurons,” she said. “They’re responsible for sort of talking to your muscles, telling them what to do and controlling them. So as these cells degenerate and die, you’re unable to have that communication.”
The progressive, fatal disease slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis.
Craig and Anne are committed to helping those who are living with the disease, as well as finding a cure. And on Saturday, Sept. 8, the pair will be serving as Honorary Co-Chairs in the Walk to Defeat ALS that will be taking place at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Son Rhys and daughter Francesca will be there, too – "hopefully they’ll walk the whole way so we don’t have to carry them," Adams joked.
Fans who would like to support Craig for the walk can visit http://web.alsa.org/goto/274als. The asking donation is $27 for No. 27.