Some people run from adversity, but not Joe DiNoia. Instead he faces each day’s challenges with strength, courage and a sense of purpose. When Joe was a child growing up in New York, he was told that his grandfather (pictured below) died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). At the time, Joe didn’t have a full understanding of the illness his family referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. However, all that changed a few years later when he was 16, and his mother started having symptoms of the same disease that had taken her father’s life. That’s the moment when ALS really hit home.
Joe knows firsthand the devastating impact of ALS not only on patients, but also on their caregivers, friends and extended family. Joe watched his mother suffer through years of slowly losing physical function until she reached the point of total paralysis. She passed in May of 1998.
Shortly after her death, her brother was diagnosed and passed away. Soon after that, her brother’s son, Joe’s first cousin, was diagnosed with ALS and died. More recently, another uncle, a second brother of his mother, also died of the disease.
Five of Joe’s family members have died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). An estimated 5 to 10 percent of ALS is familial and caused by mutations in one of several genes.
Joe has a 50-50 chance of developing the disease.
For Joe, his personal connection to ALS serves as an inspiration for his work as a Neurology Account Specialist for Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA). Each day he draws on personal insights from his family history with the disease. He uses that knowledge to connect with patients and their families in a way not many other people could.