December 2021 Foundation eNews

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Nearly $1 Million in ALS Grants Awarded for 2022!

The Les Turner ALS Foundation is excited to announce nearly $1 million to be funded in 2022 for new research grants and clinic and endowment support to the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine! 

Robert Kalb, MD, Director of the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine, provides examples of discoveries from our decades-long ALS research program: “Many important insights have come from Les Turner ALS Center laboratories including the identification of new ALS causing genes, an increased understanding of the pathological events that lead to loss of ‘upper motor neurons,’ insights into nuclear membrane biology and motor neuron death.”

With these grants, we welcome new members to the Les Turner ALS Center with fresh ideas in the ALS research space. Dr. Kalb says, “I am particularly excited that this year we are supporting investigators that are new to the ALS community.” In combination with our robust clinical research program, the results from the research labs will be well positioned to be translated into tangible new therapies for ALS.”

We’re proud to congratulate the recipients of the 2022 basic research clinical research pilot grants. We can’t thank our generous donors enough in allowing us to increase funding for scientific research for the prevention, treatment, and cure of ALS. Help us continue to advance important research for ALS at!

Read more about our 2022 research grants and investigators here.

2021 Annual Appeal – Erin’s Journey

As we enter this holiday season and wrap up 2021, we are reminded of how precious time is for those with ALS. There is an end to the year, but still not an end to ALS. Your tax-deductible gift provides much needed personalized care and support to hundreds of people living with ALS, like Erin, a former Chicago schoolteacher.

Erin was diagnosed with ALS in September 2020. Although she is losing her ability to speak and relies on a walker to get around, Erin has the tools and resources provided by the Foundation to help her with these challenges. Since the time of her diagnosis, the Foundation has helped Erin with quality of life issues, health insurance, disability benefits, clinical trials, access to ‘how to’ webinars, and care-coordination services, thanks to donors like you. THANK YOU!

Please give a gift of support today to the Les Turner ALS Foundation at

Your generous gift allows those living with ALS and their families to receive the critically important Support Services they need to continue their fight against this disease and provides hope through scientific research at our Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine.

To make a difference for people living with ALS, like Erin and their families, and to move us closer to our vision of a world free of ALS, donate now at


An ALS Service Dog? We’re Up for the Challenge!

Our ALS Support Services Coordinators are known for their compassion, commitment, and reliability in helping those living with ALS, their caregivers, and family. Sometimes, our team is met with creative challenges.

After a Zoom visit with Doug, a person living with ALS who was diagnosed in December 2020, Coordinator Karen Steffens, RN, CHPN, CCM, provided assistance in finding a furry companion for him and his wife, Donna. Luckily, the Foundation’s own Cara Gallagher, MA, LCPC, Manager of Support Services, had just rescued a dog of her own and went to work on the request. Within hours of making the phone call, Cara and the rescue arranged for Doug and Donna to meet Ryker!

Knowing that Doug was a person living with ALS, the rescue helped Doug and Donna get Ryker trained and taught him commands through an app on their phone which generated an automated voice. With the help of a retired service dog trainer, Ryker will also undergo training to become Doug’s ALS service dog. Donna is excited about Ryker’s training: “With more service training, Ryker will not only be an awesome part of our lives but will be a part of Doug’s ALS journey. We’re hoping to raise awareness about how dogs can provide an added assurance and comfort to others living with ALS.” She joked, “It’s nice to know there’s another set of eyes paying attention to Doug should he ever need anything!”

Doug and Donna are forever grateful to Cara and Karen for their part in connecting them with Ryker. Donna emphasizes, “It’s amazing what everyone at Les Turner did to get this dog to my family.”