This Guy Sure Beat the ALS Survival Odds!

On January 8, 2017, a man with one of the most brilliant minds of our age celebrated his 75th birthday. This, by itself, wouldn’t be particularly remarkable, however the celebrant Professor Steven Hawking, has had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for the past 52 years.

The rub?

Only about 10% people with the neurological muscle-wasting disease survive 10 years past their diagnosis. In fact, most pass away within two years. So what is Hawking’s secret? I would venture to say that because of his wealth and stature in the scientific community, part of his survival is due to the excellent medical care he’s received over the years.

I’m happy for Hawking, but I have a few bones to pick with him.

First, he made a statement that questioned the existence of a Higher Power. This bothered me because there are many people who are on the fence over this question, and when someone of Hawking’s fame makes a statement like that, many people who may have had hope of Divine Mercy had that taken away. Apparently, Hawking never learned about not discussing religion and politics.

My second area of contention occurs when Hawking makes broad statements about the end of the world. Quite frankly, if the earth is on a collision course with an enormous asteroid, I’d rather not know. When the second Big Bang happens, I hope to be curled up on my couch with a nice cup of tea and a Harry Potter book. I’ll never know what hit me.


Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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