October 27, 2020

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America Celebrates ALS Caregiver & Screenwriter Featured In MDA Kevin Hart Kids Telethon

ALSO US TM Program Participant Shares Her Family’s Experience With the Inherited, Familial Form of the Debilitating Disease   

JERSEY CITY, N.J., October 27, 2020 – Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA) today announced that Aleia Kristene Asbey, aspiring screenwriter and participant in the ALSO USTM caregiver program for teens and young adults impacted by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), was featured in conjunction with The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Kevin Hart Kids Telethon. The two-hour telethon event, hosted by actor and comedian Kevin Hart, aired live on October 24 via multiple online platforms.

“We are thankful the MDA recognized Aleia and helped share her family’s story, which sheds light on the impact that ALS can have on young people when a loved one is diagnosed with the disease,” said Atsushi Fujimoto, President, MTPA. “We strive to support the ALS community through programs like ALSO US, which was created to help teens and young adults whose families are touched by ALS to share their experiences through art. It has been a pleasure to watch Aleia progress toward achieving her screenwriting goals.”

An estimated 5,000 – 6,000 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year.1 Teens who have a parent with ALS can experience emotional challenges and may need support to cope with such an overwhelming disease.2

“People in caregiving positions learn a great deal about compassion, cooperation, patience and responsibility; however, at any age, especially youth may face more challenges that we need to be mindful of, and they need support,” said Lynn O’Connor Vos, President and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. “We were pleased to highlight Aleia’s story – it is a great example of how a creative outlet can be used to reflect on experiences related to caring for a family member with ALS, as well as convey personal stories to others.”

As part of the MTPA ALSO US program (www.alsousart.com), five teen and young adult caregivers were given the opportunity to partner with a creative mentor to tell their stories through poetry, creative writing, public speaking and photography. For Aleia’s project, she worked with Brooklyn-based filmmaker Jason Harvey, Argonaut Films, to refine her screenplay “4 Voices Unheard” about familial ALS. MTPA, through the ALSO US program, collaborated with the Atlanta Screenwriters Group to hold a live table read of Aleia’s screenplay with professional actors in 2019.

“I was so honored to be able to participate in the MDA telethon, because my mission since I started writing screenplays in 2015 has been to share my family’s story and raise awareness of ALS,” Aleia said. “It is a difficult story to share, so I greatly appreciate the mentoring I received through the ALSO US program as well as the support from the community. My hope is that young caregivers can find comfort in knowing there are other people who face the same challenges as them, and we are in the fight against ALS together.”

Aleia’s MDA video can be viewed at this link on Facebook. For more information on The MDA Kevin Hart Kids Telethon, visit mda.org/telethon.

About ALS
ALS is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, gradually causing patients to lose their ability to walk, write, speak, swallow, eat, and even breathe.3 The majority of ALS patients die within two to five years of receiving a diagnosis, but progression of the disease can vary significantly.4

About Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc.
Based in Jersey City, N.J., Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation’s (MTPC) 100 percent owned U.S. holding company, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Holdings America, Inc. It was established by MTPC to commercialize approved pharmaceutical products in North America. For more information, please visit www.mt-pharma-america.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Overview of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, which was founded in 1678, has its headquarters in Doshomachi, Osaka, which is the birthplace of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry. With business centered on ethical pharmaceuticals, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma is a well-established company with one of the longest histories of pharmaceutical companies in Japan.5 In accordance with the corporate philosophy of “contributing to the healthier lives of people around the world through the creation of pharmaceuticals,” the Company formulated the key concept of Open Up the Future under the Medium-Term Management Plan 2016-2020. Through the discovery of drugs that address unmet medical needs, centered on its priority disease areas — immune-inflammation diseases, diabetes and kidney, central nervous system, and vaccines — Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will strive to contribute to the health of patients around the world. MTPC is the parent company of MTPA. For more information, go to https://www.mt-pharma.co.jp/e/.

Media inquiries:
Debbie Etchison

  1. Marin B, Boumediene F, Logroscino G, et al. (2016). Variation in worldwide incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a meta-analysis. Int J Epidemiol, 00:1-18.
  2. Calvo V, Bianco F, Benelli E, et al. (2015) Impact on children of a parent with ALS: a case-control study. Frontiers in Psychology. 6:288.
  3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Information Page. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/all-disorders/amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis-als-information-page. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  4. Mehta P, Kaye W, Bryan L, et al. (2016). Prevalence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — United States, 2012–2013. MMWR Surveill Summ; 65(No. SS-8):1–12.