Business owners take ALS challenge

By Terry Wright

August 24, 2014

By Terry D. Wright

PIQUA — Mike Phillabaum, owner and operator of 36 Skate Club, Piqua, and his wife Tina were recently challenged by their daughter Airman Shelby Phillabaum, a member of the United States Air Force in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for research and development in that organization’s efforts to find a cure for the disease.

“We were challenged from my oldest daughter in Phoenix,” said Phillabaum. “My wife and I decided to take the challenge and hope to raise donations and awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association.”

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS is not contagious but approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time according to information reported by the ALS Association.

The 36 Skate Club has been in the same family for 50 years and Mike and Tina Phillabaum are the newest family members to take over the ownership and operation of the local business. “No one in our family suffers from ALS, however, my daughter’s friend’s wife does have the disease,” Mike said when asked about the interest in the challenge. It is because of my daughter’s awareness of the disease that we became involved in helping,” Phillabaum said.

According to the ASL Association, ASL can strike anyone and it occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. Although the life expectancy of an ASL patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, ALS is variable and many people live with quality for five years or more. Over half of all patients, diagnosed with the disease, live more than three years after diagnosis. About 20 percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to 10 percent will survive more than a decade. Five percent of those afflicted with ALS will survive 20 years. Additionally, there are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.