Friday, August 22, 2014

My Turn - The Ice Bucket Challenge

Note to self.  Do not gloat and breathe a sigh of relief after viewing friends and family dumping buckets of icy water on their heads in recognition of ALS and not be named in the challenge.  Remember.  Your daughter, who is bound to be nominated, has been watching you with eager anticipation.

Yes, Molly nominated me.  I took great enjoyment watching others douce themselves in the name of ALS awareness and research.  What an ingenious way of spreading the cause.  Facebook became another way of reaching millions of viewers via SHARE.  The enthusiasm became viral.

Of course, despite the laughter and rekindling of friendships that this challenge has created, it also represents a worthy cause.  Not since Lou Gehrig's famous address in Yankee stadium decades ago has ALS received so much focus and attention.

Let's test your knowledge of ALS.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a debilitating illness affecting the motor neurons.  It is progressive in its paralysis of muscles including those necessary for breathing and swallowing.  The life expectancy after diagnosis is 2 to 5 years.  Victims retain their mental capacity and are aware of their disabilities. Understandably, their is a high comorbidity of depression and suicide.

Did you know that 15 people are diagnosed every day?  That is 5,600 cases per year.  Currently there are 30,000 Americans diagnosed with ALS.

It is not considered to be exclusively due to genetics.  Only 10% of those diagnosed have a family history of ALS.  That statistic infers that 90% of cases do not.

With regard to other statistics, the majority of individuals affected by ALS are between the ages of 60 and 69 but those younger are not immune.  As a matter of fact, the person thought responsible for the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS is 29 years old and was diagnosed in 2012.

As we have seen in Breast Cancer and Aids awareness, research plays a critical role in improving detection and identifying risk factors.  Some studies have revealed that military veterans who served in the Gulf War are two times as likely to develop it compared to the general population.  Males have a 20% increased chance of developing ALS while Caucasions have a 93% chance.

The ALS organization, previously receiving $1.6 million in donations, has received, as of August 21st, more than $40 million as a result of ice bucket challenges.

So, as I raise my bucket later today, I will not lose site of the important cause my goose bumps will support.  I will also donate the $100 pledge to support further research.

Now.  Who can I nominate?  Hmmm.....................................................................................................