ALS is a form of motor neuron disease. It involves the loss of the actual motor nerve cells. The nerves affected are in the spinal cord and those that travel to the voluntary muscles, so there are symptoms of both central and peripheral involvement, with weakness and wasting in arms, legs, and mouth/throat (bulbar). ALS is a rapidly progressive and fatal neuromuscular disease.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable – at times disabling – disease of the central nervous system: which consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The disease attacks the protective myelin covering of the central nervous system, causing inflammation and often destroying the myelin in patches. The severity of MS, rate of progression, and specific symptoms cannot be predicted at the time of diagnosis.
Neurologically challenged by MS and personally by her will to succeed, Willeke is a disability awareness advocate seeking to improve neurological/MS services in Ireland. By highlighting difficult issues that come with such a diagnosis, she hopes her tenacity can bring some dignity to people most in need of a modern, inclusive healthcare system that looks after every aspect of life.
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