Dropping Temperature to Raise Money and Awareness: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Hello, dear readers! I hope you had a lovely weekend. I am happy to say that I did! I had the pleasure of visiting Jeremiah and his family’s farm, which was a nice way of re-orienting myself with being back home in the Midwest. Though we don’t have oceans (which I miss), there is lots to love here. 🙂

While I was there, we decided to participate in something fun, for a good cause.

If you’ve been on the internet at all for the past month, you have probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I think it’s wonderful that an effort to raise money and awareness for research on a fatal disease has gone viral like this! As someone who works in the healthcare industry, I’ve seen firsthand how devastating neurological diseases can be from the patients we treat, and I applaud the efforts of this campaign.

For those who are less plugged-in (probably getting more writing done! 😉 ), the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dares you to dump a bucket of ice water over your head and post the video online. The rules have evolved so that now, either way, you are supposed to donate: If you take the ice-water challenge, you have to donate a minimum of $10 to the ALS Association (or other ALS research foundations). If you do not do the ice-water challenge, you have to donate a minimum of $100. The movement was started by former baseball player Pete Frates, who has lived with ALS since 2012.

Believe it or not, the trend has sparked a bit of controversy. Some are saying that people are doing it just to gain popularity by posting videos of themselves. To that, I say–any attention that ALS research garners is good attention, no matter how it gets there! As of today, the campaign has raised $79.7 million, compared to its usual average of $2.5 million at this time of year. Although I was somewhat familiar with Lou Gehrig’s plight, I have learned more about the disease through this movement.

Some background info about ALS, from ALSA.org:

ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Ending the career of one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, the disease is still most closely associated with his name. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 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.

Other protesters cite the drought-burdened areas, where dumping any amount of water would exacerbate the drought problem. That–I get. However, people are coming up with creative alternatives. Leave it to Neil Gaiman to be one of them–his video is one of my favorites. Because he’s in California, he used ocean water–and he’s assisted by several people dressed as his character of Death. His wife, Amanda Palmer’s, video is also one of my favorites. And Gaiman challenged George R.R. Martin, who accepted.

So, while our version was less epic, we had a lot of fun doing it. We are also donating to the ALS Association, which you can do here:

Welcome, Ice Bucket Challengers

(Click image to donate)

Without further ado:

Play Video

Of those we challenged: Erin Lawless (author of The Best Thing I Never Had), poor thing, said she has a cold, but she will be donating. Rachel Hartman (author of Seraphina) said she will be completing the challenge; she’s just figuring out the logistics. Our friends Jessie and Marcy completed the challenge right away! Chris is waiting to be in a less drought-ridden area to complete his challenge. And Sarah will be doing it soon! So, yay to all of you lovely people for raising money and awareness for this great cause!
And, dear readers–I challenge YOU to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! If you cannot or would rather not dump the ice, please consider donating anyway–you will still be part of the movement. Every dollar helps. If you’d also like to donate to a hospital that treats patients with neurological afflictions like ALS, please consider ours at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.
If any of you have or will be participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, please post a link to your video below–I’d love to see it! 🙂
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