Dumping a bucket of water on yourself, uploading the video to social media, and making the caption “I was nominated to do the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS. I nominante…” DOES NOT RAISE AWARENESS FOR ALS. Just mentioning the name of the disease does not raise awareness for it or even let people know what ALS is. The ice bucket challenge is just a fad for fun and has nothing to do with ALS.
Here is how to raise awareness about ALS.
ALS is also referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” and is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. 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.
Although the order and rate of symptoms varies from person to person, eventually most patients are not able to walk or use their hands and arms. They also lose the ability to speak and swallow food, whilst most end up on a portable ventilator, called a BiPAP.
Because ALS paralyzes the muscles you need to breathe, people with ALS usually die from respiratory failure.
If you’re having trouble picturing the disease, think of Steven Hawking. He has ALS. His case is unique, he has been able to live 50 years with the disease, while most people only live 3-5 years after diagnosis.
ALS is a terrible disease with no cure. Dumping an bucket of ice water on your head is not going to help cure it.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The quote engraved on the statue of liberty.
I know we don’t have nearly as much room in our country as we did when the statue of liberty was made, but I wish our nation could live by those words and feel them in our hearts.
We are a nation of immigrants. Our ancestors were lucky enough to have been able to come here. Why do we think we should close our doors on people wanting a better life, just like our ancestors did?
*not talking about illegal immigrants, though I’m sure the number of illegal immigrants would go down if getting citizenship was easier