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Home > Harvey Intensifies Daily Challenges for Those Living with ALS

Harvey Intensifies Daily Challenges for Those Living with ALS

by | Sep 7, 2017

ALS Texas commits to helping patients through recovery process

I’ve driven down I-45 toward Houston countless times, but this time was different.

Instead of normal business traffic, I was surrounded by trucks filled with bottled water, construction material, and other basic necessities. Pulling a load of supplies and medical equipment behind me too, I felt uneasy about what I would face when I crossed into Houston.

When I finally did so, one of the first things I noticed was that the devastation was different from block to block. We crossed one debris-lined street only to come upon another that displayed life as normal – houses untouched by the storm and people eating on patios outside of restaurants.

Harvey didn’t discriminate. Mansions were ruined, as were smaller family homes, big businesses, and mom-and-pop shops. The aftermath was felt by many.

When we arrived at the staging facility, Respiratory Quality Services (RQS) was already waiting for us. We unloaded our supplies into the warehouse and loaded the trucks and set out for the first of several deliveries.


Driving through the city on our way to deliver the supplies to people with ALS, I was acutely aware of the overwhelming smell from the flood damage. Windows were broken in by the weight of flood waters. Ambulances, police cars, and military vehicles were everywhere you looked.

Thomas had been able to evacuate his home and had just gone back to his house on Saturday. We drove up to find him just sitting in his driveway in his power wheelchair. City transportation had dropped him off, but he’d been unable to go inside. His respiratory equipment had been malfunctioning for days. We called RQS, and in less than 10 minutes, they arrived to assist him.

Thomas asked me to go inside and assess the damage for him. I stepped through the front door, and my foot sank into the wood floor. The evidence of extensive water damage was everywhere. Watermarks lined the walls and showed how high flood waters had risen. Thomas’ house, one that had been outfitted for him and his special needs as a person with ALS, was destroyed. Explaining to him that he would probably never live in that house again was news I hope to never have to deliver again, though I assured him we’d assist in every way possible to replace his damaged medical equipment.

For people with ALS who are already dealing with so many difficulties in their day-to-day lives, this disaster seems insurmountable for them. Witnessing first-hand the devastation that’s been inflicted on the great city of Houston and the surrounding areas has fueled my commitment to building programs and providing resources to people experiencing the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Along with our corporate partners, we’ve met immediate needs and are working on long-term support for those affected by Harvey.

Our mission to serve patients and to finding treatments and a cure for ALS has not faltered in the wake of this disaster. Harvey has not stopped the diagnosis and progression of ALS, so we remain steadfast in our mission to provide top-notch care to all people with ALS in Texas and create a world without ALS. Will you continue to support our mission to help not only those affected by Harvey on the Gulf Coast, but all Texans battling ALS? Click here to donate.

To those of you impacted by Harvey, know that you are not alone. We are with you in this fight.


Tanner Hockensmith
Executive Director

If you are a person with ALS in need of assistance, please contact

If you’d like to donate to help create a world without ALS, please click here.

Editor’s Note: We’d like to especially acknowledge the staff of our Houston office who were themselves victims of Hurricane Harvey. Their lives too have been turned upside down by the storm and their futures made less certain. And yet, as they begin their personal process of recovery, they and the entire Care Services team across the state of Texas remain committed to the well-being of our over 200 patients and their families in the affected areas.

How ALS Patients Can Help

Once you’ve been diagnosed with ALS, it’s easy to feel like you just don’t have many options, but there are ways you can make a difference.

How You Can Help People With ALS

We all have a part to play in the fight against ALS! Your generous support funds critical research for better treatments and a cure for this disease. Here are a few ways you can help: