The Main & Market Is Going Blue

This August, and every August until there is a cure for ALS, The Main & Market is going “blue.”

According to U.S. population studies, approximately 5,600 people every year are diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly referred to as ALS. In 2014, there was much buzz about this as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” dominated social media. While it was a fun social experiment, it served also to bring the disease into the public eye, educating millions about this tricky disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS leads to the demise of the spinal cord and muscles throughout the body. The sense of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste are not affected. And for many, the muscles of the bladder also remain unaltered. But, the voluntary muscles are greatly impacted, therefore some people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move, even breath.

It is often arduous to identify, as there is no one test or procedure to diagnose specifically for ALS. The typical protocol takes a patient through a clinical elimination, involving a series of diagnostic tests to eliminate other diseases that mimic ALS.

Another difficult thing about ALS is that the initial symptoms can vary greatly in different people. Some individuals may experience abnormal fatigue of the arms or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps, and twitches, or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. Progressive muscle weakness is a hallmark sign of ALS, which will occur in up to 60 percent of patients. Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with the average being 55 at diagnosis.

There are two types of ALS: sporadic and familial. Sporadic is the most common form of the disease in the U.S. making up 90-95 percent of current cases. FALS or familial ALS means the disease is genetic and inherited. In those families, there is a 50 percent chance each offspring could inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease.

There is not yet a cure for ALS, but there are drugs available that help to slow the progression of the disease in some patients. Researchers have also made progress to create a national standard of best practices for multidisciplinary care to help manage the symptoms. These practices allow people to maintain as much independence as possible while living with the disease.

While there are many efforts that are to be applauded, there is still much work to be done to find a cure and defeat ALS. That is why this August and every August until there is a cure, The Main & Market is going “blue.” For each “blue” dessert item that is purchased in our café, we will donate 10 percent all proceeds to the ALS Foundation. We are doing this in memory of and to honor all friends and family members, especially Howard Monte and Thomas Fleming II, who will remain close to our hearts.

The Main & Market is trying to do what we can to create awareness about ALS and to raise funds for research into the cause, prevention, and cure of this dreadful disease. In addition, if you would like to make a donation, please contact us. We would also gratefully accept donations in our café.

Please visit The Main & Market this August, and together can work on getting one step closer to a cure for ALS.