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In Coping With ALS, Neil Alexander Learns to 'Live Like Lou'

Debbi Casini Klein

Read and listen to a story about Neil Alexander as part of a series honoring the individuals who make a difference in people’s lives: 90.5 WESA Celebrates People Making a Difference.

Happily married with two small children, life was pretty normal for successful businessman Neil Alexander, until two years ago when everything changed.

Neil received the crushing diagnosis that he had Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease begins with muscle weakness, then paralysis and eventually death.

“ALS is a fatal disease,” Neil said. “There is no cure, no treatment whatsoever. So when the doctor said, ‘I’m sorry, but I think you have ALS,’ I kind of knew that was Lou Gehrig’s disease, and I knew it was bad because I knew Lou Gehrig had died.”

After the shock, sadness and reality of ALS set in, Lou and his wife Suzanne drew strength from New York Yankee legend Lou Gehrig himself, and how he chose to live his life with grace and dignity. His inspiration prompted Neil and Suzanne to establish, a donor-advised fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.