In recent weeks, my newsfeed has been filled with several Ice Bucket Challenges to raise money for ALS research. I have watched the people I know and friends-of-friends become overly animated once the cold water and ice sinks through their clothes and douses their skin. Most of the videos have been entertaining. In recent months, there were a number of fire departments in our area (WV that is) who took on the Cold Water Challenge, this phenom spread through fire and police departments, EMS, state workers. It ran its course for quite some time – much like the Ice Bucket Challenge (however, they were hit with water from the fire trucks which is a bit more overwhelming than the buckets in this newer challenge). The difference between these two challenges is that the Cold Water Challenge had a more diverse range of charities that were donated to where the Ice Bucket Challenge concentrates on ALS. I made it all the way through the Cold Water Challenge days without anyone calling me (or my Bobby, the firefighter) out. That would not be the case with the Ice Bucket Challenge. My biffle Erin called me out on 08/11/2014. Gee, thanks. 🙂
Sigh. Fine. Challenge accepted. I wanted a cool video of “my personal challenge”, kind of like Paul Bissonette‘s! So, I was plotting out my revenge…er, I mean my video (Bobby is working evenings, Mander is in NY and I would have to do it by myself) and who I was going to call out when I came across a post from one of my friends. What she wrote made sense. She was bothered by the Ice Bucket Challenge because she felt that it was more for attention seeking and not as much for contributions or raising awareness (although Bissonnette was definitely in for the attention, he also provided educational links through the video and at the end). Although I know any additional funds received by ALSA are appreciated and graciously accepted, I had to admit to myself – she is right on target about the lack of awareness/education that is taken away from watching ice being poured over someone’s head. I have felt similarly when running a 5k that has a charity of some sort attached to it. When I blog about my runs I try to remember to note the organization who will be the recipient of the race proceeds. After participating in the Lucky Charms Glitter Run I was perplexed by how boxes of Lucky Charms and bagels and water were passed out at the finish line but there was a distinct absence of information on the Hoop’s Children’s Hospital, who was the recipient of the proceeds from the race.
So, here we go:
The very short, blunt description of ALS is:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosi, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is more times than not fatal. It is a horrific disease and a cure needs to be found. But those cures cost money. That is why I am more than happy to accept the challenge, donate the money, read up on the disease, hope to encourage others to read up on it as well.
There is an organization that spearheads education, awareness and research funds. It is the ALSA and their homepage is: http://www.alsa.org/. Recently there were 21 new research grants that were allocated to help find a cure for ALS. Click HERE for an article on who received the funds. The Ice Bucket Challenge started in Massachusetts with former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2012. It has gained momentum through the various social media sites. ALSA has noticed a significant increase in donations since the challenges began. Although Obama chose to make a monetary contribution to the challenge’s cause, he was called out by Ms. Kennedy to accept the challenge. Click HERE for a link to the article/video. If you do not want to do the Ice Bucket Challenge, there are a number of walks that are held nationwide. You could do a walk for a cure: NSEInfo@alsa-national.org.
Ok, so here it is, in all of its glory (FYI – I have had a cold which is the reason for the cartoon voice and bags beneath my eyes). Talk about unflattering… Sigh. Challenge Accepted, Challenge Complete.