One evening while on vacation with my family I heard my mother say she couldn't believe that Oprah took the challenge and let someone pour water over her head. I had no idea what she was talking about.
Since that time I have seen videos over social media of people being soaked with ice-cold water as part of the ALS ice bucket challenge.
It is a viral social media movement to raise awareness and money about the disease. It has been extremely effective at both!
It caught my attention because I have a family member that lost his mother to ALS about seven years ago. It was the first time that I really understood the ravages of the disease. So with all the soaking I don’t want people to miss out on understanding what it means to be diagnosed ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a disease of the nervous system that causes muscle weakness and paralysis all over the body. It often starts out with muscle twitching and over time you lose control of your muscles in your arms, leg, mouth and internal organs.
Your mind is active so while you can understand and comprehend what is happening, you lose the ability to communicate with people and the world around you. As the disease progresses you lose control of you internal organs and your breathing, your ability to speak and to digest food.
Most deaths occur because of respiratory failure. You stop breathing. ALS is a terminal disease meaning it takes your life usually three to five years after symptoms begin.
How Did this Challenge Begin and Gain so Much Momentum?
Pete Frates, a former college baseball team captain for Boston College, was diagnosed with ALS two years ago at 27 years of age. Since his diagnosis he has become an advocate in the Boston area for raising awareness about ALS.
He challenged his friends and local sports athletes to take the ice bucket challenge and videotape themselves challenging others. The rest, as they say, is history.
To see the original piece created by ESPN please follow the link http://www.refinery29.com/2014/08/73354/espn-als-ice-bucket-challenge-video-peter-frates
What is the Ice Bucket Challenge?
Here is how the ice bucket challenge works. Once you are challenged you have the options to either make a donation or get a bucket of ice water dumped on your head. You, of course have the option to do both.
You are asked to videotape yourself as you do the challenge and include the names of the people that you are challenging. People have since added a timetable for finishing the challenge and a maximum number of people that you challenge.
If you decide to be part of the challenge please make sure to use one of the following hashtags so the ALS association can continue to track the coverage. #IceBucketChallenge, #strikeoutals or #ALSIceBucketChallenge
Does this Type of Challenge Really Work?
The ice bucket challenge has raised not only awareness but it has also increased donations to ALS Association.
As of August 25, 2014 the organization has received 79.7 million dollars as compared to 2.5 million dollars for the same time period in 2013. They have over 1.7 million new donors to support research for treatments to the disease.
It is great to see people getting excited and getting involved in changing the health of our communities. One person’s commitment can make a huge impact! You could be that person for the cause that matters to you.