Raising Awareness for ALS


By Amy Fox
By Andy Shofstall

HERRIN -- By now you're heard about the ice bucket challenge. It's spreading across the country and raising millions for the fight against ALS. Staff at the Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois got in on the act Monday where the disease hits close to home.

Chris Dakin, a nurse at the surgery center, lost her husband to ALS last November. So her co-workers wanted to show their support. Monday, they did so in a big way. More than 100 employees teamed up to take the ice bucket challenge.

Rows and rows of buckets were being filled Monday afternoon at the Orthopaedic Institute in Herrin as staff prepared for the ALS ice bucket challenge. For one employee, the fundraiser holds special meaning.

"You don't recognize the symptoms, they are very insidious, they're very slow initially. And when you finally have a diagnosis, it seems like it's a steep slope that it descends rather rapidly," said Chris Dakin, who lost her husband to ALS.

Last April, Dakin's husband Les was diagnosed with ALS. In just seven short months, he quickly deteriorated, eventually losing the fight on Thanksgiving. Dakin says ALS affects everyone differently, but there were warning signs, starting with muscle weakness

Dakin said, "He noticed he couldn't climb up in our hay loft in our hay barn and throw hay down to the animals anymore. He himself didn't recognize it. He thought he was overweight, he thought that he was lazy."

Over time, Les became more dependent on Chris, which wasn't easy.

"Going from being a great big, strong, healthy person to being someone who needs to be cared for was difficult for Les," said Dakin.

The Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois decided to jump on board with the ice bucket challenge to give back to Dakin and her husband.

Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois Administrative Director of Therapy Services Pamm Hunter said, "We would love to find a cure for ALS, but anything to lessen the symptoms, make life easier for families and those that are affected by it."

"I believe that with the research going on that I really strongly believe that eventually there will be a cure and eventually wonderful people, like my husband, won't be lost," said Dakin.

The Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois raised more than $1,200 Monday for the ALS Association.


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