The Taiwan Motor Neuron Disease Association, in an effort to raise awareness of the disease, yesterday on Motor Neuron Disease Global Day (June 21) introduced a charity program that aims to raise funds by selling “Goddess Matsu stuffed toys” made by volunteers.
Motor neuron disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a debilitating disease characterized by the progressive degeneration of motor neurons, the association said.
The cause of ALS is unknown and it is one of the world’s five major incurable diseases.
The impact of ALS can be enormous on patients and their families, a patient surnamed Chen said in a statement. She said the economic burden has been heavy since the onset of her illness, not only because she can no longer earn a living, but her family also has to shoulder the salary of more than NT$20,000 for a foreign domestic helper.
The association hopes to gather NT$1 million (US$33,179) in voluntary contributions by selling 100 stuffed Matsu toys, which were hand-made by 20 volunteers aged 30 to 70.
It said the money would be used to support 165 ALS patients and their families, providing services, care subsidies and grants.