On Saturday, October 13th, the ALS Association Western Pennsylvania Chapter held their annual Living with ALS Fall Symposium in the Press Conference room at PNC Park. More than 65 people were in attendance including individuals living with ALS, their family and caregivers, medical professionals, service providers and a group of Phi Delts from Robert Morris University. At the event, the brothers of Pennsylvania Pi were able to make a connection with Blase Urban (Pittsburgh ’85), who is battling ALS. The brothers hope to involve him in their efforts to bring awareness to the disease.
The event was focused around a ground-breaking somewhat new surgery called Diaphragm Pacing. The originator of this procedure, Dr. Raymond P. Onders, MD from University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio presented on the background, surgery and the success rates of the recipients. His Project Manager, Mary Jo Elmo, RN spoke of the logistics surrounding the surgery. We then had a recipient of the surgery and a local person living with ALS talk of his personal experience of having this surgery almost one year ago.
The topic was a great interest with a Q & A session lasting for more than 30 minutes.