Netsch Discloses She Has ALS

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Byline: Associated Press

Former state Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch who spent 18 years serving in the state Senate and was the first woman to run on a major ticket for governor in Illinois has been diagnosed with a fatal nerve disorder.

"Basically its ALS, Lou Gehrigs disease," Netsch said in an interview with WMAQ-TV and the Chicago Sun-Times.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a degenerative disorder that weakens the nerves and makes it difficult to walk, swallow and speak, eventually leading to paralysis and death.

"Its a tough one," the 86-year-old Democrat said. Netsch said shes talking about her diagnosis partly to raise awareness about the disease.

"Might get more people thinking about what is ALS," she said. "Im going to be straight about this also."

Netsch has been known for her directness during the more than six decades she spent in Illinois politics. During her career, she served as an adviser to Gov. Otto Kerner Jr., helped rewrite the Illinois Constitution in 1970 and was elected state comptroller in 1990. …