Source: ALS Association.Org
In the past two weeks, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters has seen a spike in donations. Why? Because prominent people, including New Jersey ones like Eli Manning, Matt Lauer and Bon Jovi (with an assist from Governor Chris Christie) have taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. They’ve been filmed having ice water poured over them, and have challenged others to either do the same or donate to ALS.org within twenty-four hours.
With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about ALS, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference. “While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible, the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable,” says Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight against the disease.”
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. Veterans are approximately twice as likely be diagnosed with ALS.
In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe. There is no cure, and currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months.
“Thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, we realize how many more people are invested in the ALS cause,” Barbara Newhouse adds. “The Association is committed to the very highest standards of donor stewardship and transparency. We look forward to communicating with and informing all of our donors and the general public about how we’re putting these donations to work.”
All ALS patients are encouraged to enroll in the ALS.org national registry.