Friday, August 22, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge



“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed."
Like many people I was leery of this challenge at first, as the rules as I understood them were that either you donated money to ALS research or you hammed it up for the camera and dumped a bucket of ice water over your head. Frankly, I thought these people were kind of dickish to do the challenge instead of donating. Since then, I’ve pulled my head out of my ass and realized that most people are doing both, and even if they aren't, the awareness alone raised by these videos makes these challenges worth it. According to als.org, ALS organizations have received $41 million in donations, most of which can be attributed to these challenges. Just under $2 million in donations were received for the same time period last year. The videos are working.
ALS is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease but my first awareness of the disease came when actor Michael Zaslow was diagnosed. Mr. Zaslow played loveable villain, Roger Thorpe, on the soap opera, Guiding Light. Michael was diagnosed in 1997 after he started having trouble speaking his lines and passed away from the disease in late 1998. Much closer to home, my former teacher, Mrs. Linda Salzmann-Kwasniak, was diagnosed in 2012. You can read Mrs. Kwasniak’s story here: Hope for Linda.   If you’re still not convinced this challenge is worth it, take a few minutes and watch Anthony’s challenge video, and make sure you watch until the end: Anthony Carbajal Ice Bucket Challenge
I donated to als.net in honor of Mrs. Kwasniak. If you’d like to do some good on top of good, you can check out and considering donating to Let them LOL Let them LOL is a project dedicated to bringing fresh drinking water to the people of Sierra Leone, Africa.  



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