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Foundation Kicks off First-Ever PLS Awareness Month
Date:2/2/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation (SPF) is kicking off the first Congressionally-designated Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) Awareness Month, part of a national effort to bring attention to PLS, a debilitating condition that affects tens of thousands of families across the United States.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090202/PH65601LOGO )

"It is important that we create greater awareness for PLS and other neuromuscular diseases, and recognize the example set by those courageous individuals like Hardy Brown and the Spastic Paraplegic Foundation who continue to persevere and prosper through difficult medical conditions," said Congressman Joe Baca (D-CA), who sponsored the resolution designating February as PLS Awareness Month. "PLS Awareness month provides our nation with a vital opportunity to shed light on the critical need for better funding for research and treatments of this disease."

"Rep. Baca has been invaluable," said the SPF President Jim Sheorn. "His incredible dedication to this cause and his ability to get the support of the entire Congress has been a great source of inspiration and hope for PLS sufferers and their families. We couldn't have asked for a better partner in Washington."

PLS is a disabling motor neuron disease and one for which the cause is not known and treatments are not available. It is part of the class of progressive neurological disorders that include Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). PLS is commonly misdiagnosed as ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in part because of the lack of information that the SPF hopes to combat through PLS Awareness Month.

"There has been very real progress in understanding the molecular basis of these conditions," said Dr. John K. Fink, Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan and Medical Advisor to the SPF. "These advances bring us closer to developing real treatments. I join the SPF and individuals and families with PLS and related motor neuron disorders in thanking Rep. Baca for his efforts to raise public awareness and research support."

The month-long designation also recognizes the contributions of Hardy Brown, a social activist and publisher who was diagnosed with PLS in 2007. Mr. Brown, who currently serves as Co-publisher of Brown Publishing, will spotlight PLS Awareness Month with an article on Black Voice News (www.blackvoicenews.com) reviewing recent findings and progress made by Dr. Fink and others in their research. Mr. Brown is the honoree for the first ever PLS Awareness Month as a result of his dedication and hard work in the areas of social justice and equality.

The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation, Inc. (www.sp-foundation.org) is a national not-for-profit dedicated to raising funds and finding a cure for Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP).


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SOURCE The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation
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