Take on the Challenge

Lydia Martin, Editor-in-Chief

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Within the last month, all of the buzz on social media sites has been about the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. Before this many people did not know what ALS was. ALS is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to ALSA.org, ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis can be defined as a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord. When the motor neurons within the nerve cells die, the ability of the brain to control muscle movement is lost.

ALS takes away your ability to control your muscle movements, which is how the “Ice Bucket Challenge” came to be. By pouring a bucket of ice water on your head, for those couple seconds in which the ice water hits your body, you experience what it would feel to have no control over your own muscles. This is what a person with ALS faces every day of their life.

This horrible disease and the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” hit pretty close to home with me. My grandmother was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. Over the last two years and even before her diagnosis, my family has watched her struggle to speak. ALS first hit her somewhere within her throat muscles. Since the disease, in her case slowly, takes away your ability to control your muscles she has struggled to form words.

Everyday this disease affects her and my family, any time we want to communicate with my grandmother we have to watch her struggle to form words. She used to be able to communicate using her hands to write or type things, however now ALS is starting to take away her ability to control the muscles in her hands.

Can you imagine your brain telling you to communicate something but your body not allowing you to do so?

The worst part is when you’re diagnosed with ALS there is not much hope. ALS will eventually shut down your body, in my grandmother’s case slowly, in other cases very quickly. As of right not there is no cure for this disease.

This is what the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” is trying to change. If you have participated in this challenge and have not donated to the cause, please do so. This disease affects 30,000 Americans. It is not just my family who is affected by this. Every day, fifteen people in America are diagnosed with this disease. Every day fifteen new families are pleading for a cure to ALS.

Take on the challenge for your own personal enjoyment but for the sake of my grandmother, my family and many other families facing this disease, please consider donating a few dollars to ALSA.org in hopes of finding a cure for ALS.

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