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By: Theresa Cahill
Las Vegas, NV (Apr 17) – As disasters occur on foreign soil, millions of American, and citizens around the globe, rally when catastrophe strikes. There remains, however, charities within our U.S. borders that struggle day in and day out to provide necessary services to victims of crippling and fatal disease, malnutrition, and abuse of the elderly to name but a few.
Charities rely strongly on the open-hearted response from the public. Yet with economic downturn, there often comes a reluctance from those in position to financially help. Organizations exist, not on foreign soil, but right here in the U.S. that are in critical need of financial assistance. While off-shore tragedies – not to be downplayed – receive immediate response with appeals for food, clothing and financial assistance, more often than not there are nonprofit services in one’s community that are on the edge of crisis daily. They, too, need support.
An example of a not-for-profit agency in critical financial need exists here in Nevada. ALS of Nevada stands alone in its fight to help victims of Lou Gehrig’s disease and the caregivers of those victims. Once a part of the national organization, the ALS team, consisting of three women valiantly covering an entire state roughly the size of New England, chose to operate independently to ensure monies raised for Nevada stay in Nevada. Michigan is another state that also perceived the advantage of using its own fund raising for residents within its state.
Nevada and Michigan both have received news coverage about the dire circumstances Wall Street created. Education, foreclosures, unemployment, and health care have suffered. Add to the mix, the non-profits. Lauran Meyer, President of ALS of Nevada’s Board of Directors, stated, “Difficult times, they say, make us stronger. During the past year and a half, ALS of Nevada has indeed been challenged by difficult financial times, but we are growing weaker, not stronger.”
Thus, organizations with a vast need for public support often go under-noticed, operating on shoe-string budgets. They fight the valiant fight in the hope that its State, and citizens outside their State, will rise to the occasion and provide financial assistance. “We wish we could say that we have been immune to the effects of our current economy, but we have not. When folks – both individuals and corporations – need to cut back, their charitable giving is among the first financial adjustments they make. Like so many other not-for-profit organizations, we have experienced a tremendous downturn in donations and fundraiser proceeds; and at a time when the number of ALS patients on service with us is at an all-time high,” Meyers noted.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known by many as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in reference to the famous Yankees baseball player of the early 20th century, “is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease caused by the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement.”
Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, is perhaps one of the best “well known” individuals with this deadly disease. Hawking’s also is an example of special case circumstances, since the disease leaves its victim with a life expectancy of less than four to six years.
Approximately 10 percentage of those affected develop ALS due to genetics. However, this ravaging disease is not confined to an “inherited” status. Large numbers of troops returning from the Gulf War also mysteriously were afflicted with ALS. Thus, research is crucial to isolate and seek a cure for all. In the meantime, victims need emotional, physical, and financial support seeking out not-for-profit help. In turn, support organizations like ALS of Nevada, rely upon compassionate citizen donations.
Meyers announced, “Our officers and board members are doubling their efforts to find funding for our agency, but no one source of funds will be sufficient to keep our doors open. We are asking for your help with an immediate financial donation – in any amount. We ask that you be as generous as your circumstances allow, and we thank you in advance with deep humility and appreciation.”
As duly noted in numerous articles and news stories, living in the 21st century has brought severe economic conditions to so many. Yet, the fact remains that a larger portion of the population remains employed and able to give, should they open their hearts and wallets to do so.
Charity does begin “at home” and there are numerous ways in which you can help starting today. For more information, visit ALS of Nevada or call (702) 777-0500.