ALSO US™ is a program encouraging teens and young adults impacted by ALS to use the power of art to share their experiences.
Whether through video, painting or poetry, art can provide a powerful outlet for your emotions and serve as a resource to other teens dealing with this devastating disease.
Learn storytelling tips from ALSO US creative experts in photography, film, poetry and design to help bring your story to life through art
You may find inspiration in other teens and young adults who are currently collaborating with experts to develop original artwork*
Explore how the principles of art therapy can help emotional expression and connect people coping with similar situations
For me, one of the greatest challenges of having a parent with ALS was the difficulty of explaining the logistics of the disease—how my dad was suffering and, by default, how the family was suffering. Because my dad's symptoms changed daily, many people did not understand what was wrong with him or how they could help, especially in the early stages. It is a uniquely cruel disease that you unfortunately have to experience to truly understand.
When caring for a parent with ALS, the expected child/adult roles are quickly reversed. When I was little my family would make fun at how small my dad would cut up my food for me, because he was scared I would choke. It was surreal when I was cutting his food up for him into tiny pieces just years later. While I didn't know it at the time, filming this documentary on my dad was a way to immortalize his spirit.
In 2011 I lost my cousin to ALS. Seeing how that impacted my entire family has inspired my work. As a licensed and board certified art therapist, I help others express their experiences and feelings through art. One of my favorite quotes is from Kurt Vonnegut who once said 'practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.'”
I’ve seen firsthand that teens who have a loved one with ALS face a unique set of challenges. I encourage you to share your own perspectives by expressing a thought or feeling through art, with the hope that your creativity will lend support and offer strength to others, as well as yourself. It takes a village to battle ALS, and you’re not alone.”
It’s often hard for teens and young adults to express how they’re feeling and how they’ve been impacted when a loved one has been diagnosed with ALS.
ALS is a horrible disease that took my father when I was 12. When other kids were playing videos games and talking about sports, it was hard for me to relate. I want to use poetry to share with others how all of this affected me.”- Daniel
Having a parent with ALS has been really tough on me, but I still try to be thankful for the good things I have in life. I try to remind myself to be grateful for each day and focus on the positive. I’m excited to be part of ALSO US and work to raise awareness of this disease.”- Cassidy
A few years ago I lost my fourth family member to ALS. It was hard for me to deal with so I went to see my school therapist who recommended that I start to write about what I had been going through. Shortly after, I realized that turning my writing into film was the most therapeutic way for me to share my family’s story.”- Aleia
I didn’t really understand what ALS was when my dad got diagnosed, but now I know how sad this disease really is. Getting more involved in the ALS community has helped me cope, but I’m also looking forward to writing about what I’ve gone through and how it has affected me.”- Kieran
My mom’s diagnosis flipped my world upside down – in both a bad and good way. Every day I wish my mom was still here, but I am thankful that it was she who brought me so many different people and opportunities. I’m proud to be sharing my story to help others who have had a loved one with ALS. Having this experience made me grow up really fast, so for all of the young people going through this, my advice is to remember that you’re still a kid, and you still have to go out and be a kid sometimes.”- Mackenzie
*The opportunity to partner with a creative expert passed on January 22, 2019