ALS Les Turner Foundation

Background:  Organization’s mission, history, overall goals and/or objectives:

ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease for the New York Yankees icon, is a progressive neuromuscular disorder in which degeneration of the nerves leads to muscle weakness and impaired speaking, swallowing and breathing; eventually causing paralysis and death.  The clinical progression can vary widely; however, patients typically live with the disease two to five years after the onset of symptoms.  Approximately 10 percent of ALS cases are hereditary, while the remaining 90 percent are considered sporadic, or random.  Although some symptoms are treatable, there is currently no cure.  More than 5,600 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year and approximately 35,000 people at any given time are living with ALS in the U.S.

Named for Les Turner, a Chicago area business and family man, our Foundation was established in 1977 and is the only independent, publicly supported non-profit organization in Chicagoland dedicated to the treatment and elimination of ALS.  Affiliated with Northwestern Medicine since 1979, where it supports two world-class scientific research laboratories and a large multi-disciplinary clinical program, the Les Turner/Lois Insolia ALS Center, the Foundation has been steadfast in its mission to:

  • Advance scientific research into the causes, treatments and prevention of ALS;
  • Provide people with ALS, their families and caregivers exceptional clinical care and support services and increase awareness and education of ALS.
For more than 600 patients in the Chicagoland area, 90 percent of the ALS population in this region, this Foundation provides critical services, expertise and hope.

Current programs and activities:   Unique among other ALS organizations, the Foundation supports extraordinary clinical care and Patient and Family Services.  The Les Turner/Lois Insolia ALS Center is considered one of the world’s foremost multi-disciplinary clinical centers for patients with ALS. The Center provides patients with diagnostic, rehabilitative and supportive services focusing on assessment, care planning, education and how best to manage the devastating effects of the disease. A team of more than 20 medical professionals meet twice a week to diagnose and treat ALS patients.

These vital members include five neurologists, clinical nurse coordinators, a drug study research coordinator, nutritionist, genetic counselor, occupational therapist, pulmonologist, and a speech pathologist. Les Turner ALS Foundation funding provides salary support and underwrites the costs for facility space, operations, patient parking and transportation.

The Foundation’s critical support services and resources improve a patient’s quality of life.  Patient service programs are available to all patients and caregivers in Chicagoland, regardless of where they receive their medical care, and include:
  • Home Care and Community Services Team
  • Support Group Meetings
  • Augmentative Communication Equipment Loan
  • Durable Medical Equipment Loan
  • Respite Grant Program
  • Ralph Russo Patient and Family Services Grant Program
  • Stuart Rosen Transportation Program
For more information, plesase visit the ALS Les Turner Foundation website HERE.


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