Lou Gehrig patients call off hunger strike after deal

Government will raise 400 million euros funds for patients

Lou Gehrig patients call off hunger strike after deal

(ANSA) – Rome, November 21 – The leader of a group representing patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease on Wednesday told followers to call off a hunger strike after Italy’s government promised to raise to 400 million euros in funds for disabled patients who need various types of assistance. To protest against government funding cuts, Lou Gehrig patients from all over Italy assembled in front of the economy ministry on Wednesday where they began a hunger strike. In order to make sure the government increased the funds it was making available from a planned 200 million euros to the requested 400 million, hunger strike organizers repeated earlier claims that the protesters – including some on respirators whose batteries could only last 5-6 hours – were "ready to let themselves die". A committee representing patients, called the November 16 Committee, was involved in the talks with the economy and health ministries Wednesday. After meeting with government officials, a representative of the committee said, "The government has promised to bring the funds to 400 million euros. For us this is a great sigh of relief". The committee member explained that patients will be divided into three categories: those who need a wheelchair, those who need a wheelchair and assistance with feeding and those who also need respirators.

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