East County News Service
April 26, 2020 (La Mesa) – As part of its response to serve the San Diego community during the coronavirus pandemic, the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter has announced it recently loaned six, fully-electric hospital beds to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.
“In response to a request for assistance from the Sharp HealthCare Foundation, we replied with an offer to share resources from our equipment storage unit,” said Steve Becvar, Executive Director, ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter. “The response we received to our offer was beds. During these unchartered and unusual times, we are happy and willing to do whatever we can to help our community.”
“We are grateful for the generosity of the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter and for their offer of beds that will be used if needed,” said Bill Littlejohn, Senior Vice President and CEO, Sharp HealthCare Foundation. “Thanks to the ALS Chapter for answering our call for help and their assistance in helping us remain prepared to be ready to serve our patients and the community.”
The ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter provides research, care services, resources and programs to more than 200 people who are living with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s disease. All services for patients and families are provided by the ALS Chapter at no cost, Becvar said. Also, Becvar said medical expenses associated with ALS can cost up to $250,000 annually, depleting families’ life savings.
Becvar said the ALS Association’s storage unit, referred to by ALS staff as the “loan closet,” has an assortment of durable medical equipment, including fully automated beds with hand controls, which typically are provided at no cost to ALS patients and their families.
Becvar said the loaning of hospital beds to Sharp Grossmont Hospital was “the right thing to do” and the hospital can keep the beds for as long as necessary or needed during this unprecedented COVID-19 period of time.
“We work very closely with all the local healthcare facilities on a regular basis, so we are proud to be able to extend a hand of support and help them in their time of need,” said Becvar. “We looked at the conditions on the ground, and we feel confident about our own capacity to meet the needs of our ALS patents, plus support the needs of others.
“It was the right thing to do. We can’t just sit on our assets when we can save lives and help our fellow Americans. We can’t turn our backs on our local hospitals who are serving at the front lines in treatment of sick patients during this coronavirus crisis. We are all in the same battle together. We’re on the same team. We must work together to protect as many people as possible.”
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in people living with ALS weakens muscles and impacts physical function. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which usually leads to total paralysis. Life expectancy for a person with ALS is within two to five years of diagnosis of initial symptoms. There is no cure, cause or no life-prolonging treatments for the disease.
The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to fighting against ALS on every front through research, public policy and care services. It is the largest private funder of ALS research in the world. The Association funds global research collaborations, provides assistance for people with ALS and their families through its nationwide network of chapters and certified clinical care centers, and advocates for better public policies for people with ALS. The mission of the ALS Association is to find a cure for and improve the lives of people living with ALS. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, the ALS Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while urgently searching for new treatments and a cure.
The Greater San Diego Chapter, chartered in February 2013, is one of 39 chapters nationwide. The San Diego chapter works closely with the ALS San Diego Clinic at the University of California San Diego, which has been certified as a Center of Excellence by the national ALS organization. At its San Diego offices, the local chapter also showcases an ALS bedroom and bathroom that is equipped with features and benefits that would be helpful to people with ALS. For more information about the ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter, visit www.alsasd.org.