Chicago Tribune

It started when he couldn't grasp a pen. Diagnosed with ALS at 37, former Obama staffer hopes to use campaign skills to raise funds for a cure.

When Brian Wallach had trouble grasping a pen, he chalked it up to exhaustion. After all, he was the father of a year-old daughter, with another on the way.

When his second daughter was in the hospital days after being born, his wife noticed he was coughing a lot. See a doctor, she said.

The next day, he did. That doctor wanted him to see a neurologist. And that neurologist told him he might have ALS.

Like many people, he said, his knowledge of the disease was limited to the following: "Ice Bucket Challenge. Not good. Lou Gehrig."

Wallach and his wife, Sandra Abrevaya, are poised to launch a group they hope will fund research, and finally find a cure, for a disease many know by its acronym but not by the faces and experiences of those enduring it.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Kenilworth, Ill., couple, both 38, will launch I Am ALS, an effort born out of months of researching not only what might

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