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What if Your Favorite TV Show Could Be a Medical Superhero?

Let’s talk about the power of storytelling, especially when it comes to shedding light on medical conditions like ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). While ALS might not always grab the headlines in popular media, showcasing fictional characters grappling with the disease can be a powerful tool for raising awareness. This ALS Awareness Month, we’re diving into a particular portrayal of ALS in NBC’s TV series “Chicago Med.”

Lydia may have been a small character on “Chicago Med,” but her plot had a lasting influence on fans. Lydia’s path after being diagnosed with a rare form of the qualifying condition, called “bulbar ALS,” mirrored the real-life obstacles that people with ALS face. Despite her limited screen time, Lydia’s story added depth to the show and offered viewers a glimpse into the challenges of living with ALS.

Through Lydia’s character, we witnessed the highs and lows of her journey. As her condition progressed, Lydia experienced changes in her speech and sudden emotional outbursts, both of which were linked to the degeneration of brain cells associated with ALS.

According to healthline, about 30,000 people across the United States are grappling with ALS.1 Often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a rare condition that affects the nervous system, particularly the motor neurons that control muscle movement and breathing in the brain and spinal cord. Imagine facing challenges like struggling to chew and swallow, dealing with muscle cramps and twitches, or even feeling your speech falter. That’s the daily reality for many battling ALS.2

While Lydia’s storyline didn’t explicitly dive into it, “Chicago Med” subtly hinted at the evolving landscape of ALS treatment. Medical cannabis has emerged as a topic of interest in managing ALS symptoms such as muscle spasms and pain, and discussions about ALS in the media are able to raise awareness about potential alternative therapies.

Lydia’s journey allowed viewers to connect with the lived experience of ALS, encouraging empathy and understanding. As a community-based dispensary, we recognize the impact of these portrayals on fostering compassion and inclusion for people living with ALS.

The way ALS is shown in movies and TV isn’t just for people who already know about it. Sometimes, it can help those who might not even realize they have ALS. Seeing accurate and caring depictions on screen might make someone recognize symptoms they or their loved ones may be experiencing and search for medical advice. However, it’s crucial for media portrayals to be accurate and respectful. By ensuring authenticity in storytelling the media can play a vital role in educating and empowering individuals to recognize and address potential health concerns.

To learn more about ALS, visit The ALS Association, which has everything from educational information to support resources for those affected!