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Hi, my name is Mario A. Finnell and this is my ALS journey. In April of 2016 I started experiencing cramps in my left pinky finger and initially thought nothing of it. My finger continued to give me an irritating bit of pain so I finally decided to get it checked out in May of 2016. I went to my private medical doctor who commenced to proceed with a number of examinations, mostly testing my nerve reflexes. While going through the examinations I noticed that I was experiencing hyper reflexivity in my left arm and left leg. At that time, my primary physician referred me to a neurologist for further testing. Once I arrived at my appointment with my neurologist I was advised to undergo further neurological testing. I underwent a second MRI and EMG test. It was then that my neurologist gave me a diagnosis of ALS. I was somewhat familiar with the disease and the limitations that were to come. Given the average life expectancy of 18months my doctor told me to “enjoy the rest of my life and focus on maintaining the best quality of life possible”. As one can imagine the shock of receiving such news permeated my body like a ball of fire and devastated me to my core. I saw this as the beginning of the battle for the rest of my life.

The thought of fighting ALS and the symptoms seemed insurmountable in the beginning. I relied heavily on prayer, family and close friends to cushion the shock and push me to see life from a new perspective. I decided to find peace in the present while being thankful for all of my blessings.

Because ALS has many painful and debilitating symptoms it requires a lot of medication to maintain a level of comfort. The medication is quite costly, thankfully my employer insurance covers my cost. But there are others who do not have access to these resources and suffer as a result. It was because of that inequity I saw an opportunity to help other people living with ALS and their families “to maintain the best quality of life”. With prayer and meditation I decided to form a nonprofit organization to empower people by providing them with the resources, aids for daily living, and group therapy that will continue to raise awareness for this debilitating disease.

I personally believe that everything is orchestrated by God with purpose. My purpose is to help those living with ALS through the Mario A. Finnell ALS Foundation.


The family who loves and adores Mario A. Finnell






Vice President


Sargent at/of Arms




Program Coordinator






  1. Most people who develop ALS are between 40 and 70 years old and are usually diagnosed around the age of 55. More than 50 percent of all ALS patients live more than three years after being diagnosed, even though the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is between two and five years.

  2. The most common form of ALS is called “Sporadic ALS”. In the United States, this form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis represents up to 90 to 95 percent of all cases.

  3. Familial ALS (FALS) is another form of ALS and it means that the disease is inherited. In cases of families that have ALS in their genetic and medical history, there is up to a 50 percent chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease.

  4. Once it starts, ALS always progresses and it can eventually take away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe. The speed and order of the disease’s progression varies from person to person.

  5. ALS can affect anyone but military veterans are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.

  6. The early symptoms of ALS often involve muscle weakness or stiffness.

  7. There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment, and home healthcare during later stages of the disease. It is important to learn about health plan coverage and other options.

  8. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressing and always fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles.

  9. Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 75, with the majority showing symptoms after age 60. The disease can occur at a younger age too, although the incidence in children and teenagers is very rare.

  10. ALS does not impair an individual’s sexual drive.

  11. ALS is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases worldwide.

  12. ALS is more common among white males, non-Hispanics, and persons aged 60–69. 

  13. It is estimated that at any given time, 1 to 7 out of every 100,000 people will have ALS.

  14. There are 15 new cases of ALS diagnosed each day. ALS occurs throughout the world with no obvious racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries.

  15. Every 90 minutes someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with ALS.

  16. It can take a year or more to get a confirmed diagnosis of ALS.

  17.  Studies of military personnel who were deployed in the Gulf region during the 1991 war show that those veterans were more likely to develop ALS compared to military personnel who were not in that region

  18. There are more than 150 potential treatments being looked at in the U.S. today for ALS.

  19. The term “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” comes from Greek. “Amyotrophic” means wasting or thinning of the muscle, or atrophy. “Lateral” refers to the location of the nerve cells that deteriorate in the spinal cord, on its far edge. When these nerve cells die, they leave a scar in the spinal cord that is referred to as “sclerosis.”

  20. Genetic studies show us that ALS is probably not a single disease but a combination of several related diseases with a similar end result.

  21. Eighty five percent of people with a motor neuron disease have ALS.

  22. Most surveys show that ALS is more common in men than women by a ratio of 3:2, although the gap may be closing. Men also tend to develop the disease at a younger age than women do.

  23. ALS is not necessarily hereditary and is not contagious.

  24. The incidence is roughly 2 people per 100,000 per year.

  25. Science has yet to devise a single test to definitely diagnose ALS.

  26. The KIF5A gene discovery gives researchers a promising new target for drug development. The more genes discovered, the more potential therapeutic targets. It also provides insight and contributes to a collective knowledge base into the many interactive pathways explaining motor neuron degeneration, which is the underlying cause of ALS.

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