Over the past month, water has been flowing on viral videos all over the Internet. The cause is the latest fundraiser idea, the ALS ice bucket challenge.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS] is, according to the Arkansas ALS website, a neurodegenerative disease that usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and causes degeneration throughout the brain and spinal cord. A common first symptom is a painless weakness in a hand, foot, arm or leg, which occurs in more than half of all cases. Other early symptoms include speech swallowing or walking difficulty.
The disease is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease after Baseball Hall of Famer and Tankee great Lou Gehrig, who died of the disease.
So just what is the ice bucket challenge, you might ask. The ice bucket challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water on a persons head, in an effort to spread awareness for ALS. Once challenged, a person has 24 hours to accept the challenge and make $10 contribution for ALS or skip the challenge and donate $100. Those who accept the challenge, then select four people to take it, thus continuing the cycle.
Jennifer Necessary, Executive Director of the ALS Association Arkansas Chapter, said the challenge has not only made an impact in contributions for ALS, but also helped spread awareness of the disease.
"We’ve definitely seen an impact in Arkansas," Necessary said. "We’re very grateful."
According to Necessary, as of Monday, $ 79.7 million has been raised nationally since the ice bucket challenge began on July 29. An jaw dropping amount compared to last years $2.5 million, raised over the same time period.
"The money raised nationally is truly remarkable," Necessary said.
While making contributions to any ALS foundation will impact lives and help with research on the disease, Necessary said she would like to encourage Arkansans to make contributions to the Arkansas chapter, so those funds can be used to help "pals" [people with ALS] in Arkansas.
The Arkansas chapter currently has 108 pals housed in Arkansas and more stepping up as the awareness spreads, Necessary said. She said the Arkansas chapter is the only recognized association for ALS in Arkansas. According to the website, its mission is "leading the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support."
For more information visitthe Arkansas ALS website at www.als-arkansas.org.
Donations can be made on the website or can be mailed to 1200 West Walnut , Suite 2309, Rogers, AR 72756.