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'ALS is a monster': Two men with debilitating Lou Gehrig's disease use prayer to cope with diagnosis

WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem logo WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem 11/12/2019

Two men who are suffering the debilitating symptoms of ALS are praying for a cure.

Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks the body by weakening muscles, robbing its victims of their ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe.

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Doctors diagnosed 74-year-old retired Air Force Col. Edward Henderson Jr. nearly three years ago.

He said he immediately joined a support group and got this advice:

"Don't put your head in the sand. ALS is a monster."

Henderson said he was told that the disease would likely kill him within a few years. He said he's still coping with the disease every day and has already lost four friends to ALS.

While it's expected 16,000 people currently have the disease, veterans such as Henderson are twice as likely to be diagnosed as non-veterans.

Arthur Patsch, 55, of Greensboro, got the awful diagnosis in March. He thought he was just suffering from a pinched nerve.

"It just blows you away," he said.

Both men are on drugs and supplements that may slow down the progression of the disease and give them a better quality of life.

They're also praying for a cure.

Doctors in North Carolina are currently working on new research in hope of combating the deadly disease, and clinical trials are planned to get underway at Duke University Hospital's ALS clinic in Durham this winter.

Both Henderson and Patsch said they hope they can participate.

READ THE FULL STORY:'ALS is a monster': Two men with debilitating Lou Gehrig's disease use prayer to cope with diagnosis

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