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Thursday, November 24, 2011

A New Face For Lou Gehrig’s Disease

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Corey Reich (left) and his dad Ted Reich. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)Corey Reich shows his walking stick. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

Everyone thinks of the baseball star Lou Gehrig when they think of ALS. But should there be a new face of the disease? Perhaps it should be Corey Reich.

While he was an undergraduate at Middlebury College, Corey Reich started to notice that he had a hard time holding things. He was then diagnosed at age 21, but he was determined to complete his studies–and he did.

He tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young that in the four years of living with ALS, he has had many friends die from the disease; many were even diagnosed after he was. But Reich is still pushing the boundaries — he’s a tennis coach and says the fact the he “can still walk around and communicate without a communication device, or use a wheelchair full time, is amazing.”

Corey and his father, Ted, say that researchers still don’t know much about what causes the disease and that there needs to be more research done. Corey says the pharmaceutical companies don’t do much ALS research because the community is so small — and it’s small because ALS patients die as more people are diagnosed with it. Ted, who sits on the board of the ALS Therapy Development Institute, tells Robin that he’s pushing for more research into ALS “to save my son.”

Guests:

  • Corey Reich
  • Ted Reich, Corey’s father

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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