Since Pete Frates, an individual suffering from Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), posted a video about the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, on July 29, 2014, the challenge has ‘gone viral.’ In the Ice Bucket Challenge, individuals dump a bucket full of ice and water over their own head. Afterwards, they post a video on social network sites and challenge five others to dump a bucket of ice water over their own head or donate $100 to fund ALS research.
While some have criticized the Ice Bucket Challenge, according to the ALS Association, the challenge has led to a large increase in donations. As of August 19, 2014, donations to the ALS Association are up more than $20 million dollars over last year’s donations. Equally important, the challenge has been raising awareness of this terrible disease.
Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in the U.S.) is one of the motor neuron diseases. This deadly neuromuscular disease affects the muscles of the legs and arms, throat, and mouth. Eventually, ALS involves all of the voluntary muscles causing paralysis. The muscles involved in eating and respiration become affected as the disease progresses. This disease usually progresses rapidly, and average survival after diagnosis is only about three to five years.
Onset of ALS usually occurs during adulthood. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S. have ALS, with about 5,000 new diagnoses of ALS each year. Currently, there is no cure for Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Today, I took the Ice Bucket Challenge. You can find my video on the Facebook page for the Neuromuscular Disease site (see below under Resources) I also made a donation to the ALS Association. Donations to the ALS will help fund research into clinical treatments for ALS, as well ALS efforts in the area of patient care services, public education, and public policy.
I now extend the challenge to you. Learn more about ALS and share what you have learned. Take the Ice Bucket Challenge and make a donation to the ALS Association. Do what you can to raise awareness and help efforts to find better treatments and a cure for ALS.
ALS Association website, (2014). Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Reach $22.9 Million to The ALS Association. Retrieved from http://www.alsa.org/news/media/press-releases/ice-bucket-challenge-081914.html in 8/19/14.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, (2014). ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis/detail_ALS.htm on 8/19/14.
Reijonen, Jori, (2014) Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS video available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BellaOnlineNeuromuscularDiseasesSite and on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7Tn1lzoYs8&feature=youtube_gdata .
Steel, E., (2014). ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Has Raised Millions for ALS Association. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/business/ice-bucket-challenge-has-raised-millions-for-als-association.html?_r=0 on 8/19/14.