I was shocked to learn this summer that my friend Hiro, whom I know from high school in Tokyo, is living with ALS. The US National Library of Medicine describes it as follows:
In ALS, nerve cells (neurons) waste away or die, and can no longer send messages to muscles. This eventually leads to muscle weakening, twitching, and an inability to move the arms, legs, and body. The condition slowly gets worse. When the muscles in the chest area stop working, it becomes hard or impossible to breathe on one’s own.
Hiro’s always been a popular guy, and I’m happy to know that our friends are taking good care of him in Tokyo and that his company–the global ad agency McCann Erickson–still appreciates his contributions to the workplace even though he can’t come to the office as often as he used to. I also think he’s super brave for telling his story to the press, and posting his fight for life on Facebook. I’m not sure how a shout out on TokyoMango is going to help, but I wanted to let you guys know that this man is leading a movement to raise awareness for ALS in Japan. If you have any ideas on how to help, leave a comment!