Unless you took a two week vacation to the moon, you have probably seen or heard about tons of people getting soaked with the ALS ice bucket challenge to promote ALS awareness. While the idea is innovative and people are really embracing it, something is missing in this ALS awareness campaign.
Here is how the ALS ice bucket challenge works: The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.
Can you tell what is missing from this ALS awareness campaign?
How about these things:
- What is ALS also know as? Lou Gehrig’s disease
- What does ALS stand for? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- What is ALS? 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.
- What are the symptoms of ALS?
- Muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech
- Swallowing or breathing
- Twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
- Impairment of the use of the arms and legs
- "Thick speech" and difficulty in projecting the voice
- In more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing
- Are there different forms of ALS? Yes.
- Sporadic - the most common form of ALS in the United States - 90 to 95% of all cases.
- Familial - occurring more than once in a family lineage (genetic dominant inheritance) accounts for a very small number of cases in the United States - 5 to 10% of all cases.
- Guamanian - an extremely high incidence of ALS was observed in Guam and the Trust Territories of the Pacific in the 1950's.
- What are the various ALS charities we can donate to?
- Are you more aware of ALS after reading this information or were you more aware watching people involved in the ice bucket challenge? That's for you to decide.
Please don’t misunderstand, this is a wonderful charitable challenge and has raised more money for ALS than in years past by leaps and bounds. The problem that is being addressed here is that watching an ice bucket challenge video doesn't increase awareness, knowledge or longevity participation in ALS programs or donations. This is the reason people are choosing to stay dry in the ice bucket challenge.
Whether you take the ice bucket challenge or choose to stay dry, please consider making a donation to an ALS charity. Several charities are listed above.
Information from this article (plus more information about ALS) can be found on ALSA.org
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