by Brooke Thomas
Society gives its members a choice now: donate a hundred dollars to a national charity or dump a giant bucket of ice cold water on their heads in order to raise awareness of a disease that has been threatening American citizens for years. Most people go with the bucket of water, chilling themselves at the expense of their viewers.
The ice bucket challenge has made its way around the world and to Pensacola State College as well, challenging the security staff and students on campus.
Dispatcher Betsy Hatsy accepted the challenge and on August 21, 2014, participated in throwing a gallon if ice cold water on herself to keep the trend growing in their small city. “It was a good way to spread awareness for the diseases as well as others and a good way to raise money. It was for a good cause,” said Hasty.
Thousands are participating and awareness of ALS disease is skyrocketing all over the nation. Even famous individuals, such as Carrie Underwood, Will Arnett, Bill Gates and Chris Hemsworth are accepting the challenge as well as donating money.
Once challenged, usually by a friend of loved one, they are expected to pour a bucket of ice water on themselves, nominate three people, and post the video to social media or donate money twenty-four hours later. Although the event may be entertaining for viewers, the challenge is really meant to spread awareness about the ALS disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
Our motor neurons allow us to control our movements. They extend from the brain to the spinal cord and are spread throughout the muscles in our body.
Patients in the later stages of the disease can become completely paralyzed. They lose mobility of their body parts and are unable to swallow food. As the motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons eventually leads to death.
Early symptoms of ALS include: increasing muscle weakness, particularly in the arms and legs, trouble with speech, and swallowing or breathing. Because the muscles no longer receive messages from the motor neurons, muscles tend to decompose and force the body’s appearance to look smaller and slimmer.
Recently, a video surfaced on the internet starring a young man names Anthony Carbajal, a twenty-six year old that has been diagnosed with ALS.
Carbajal completed the ice bucket challenge and begins to educate viewers about the disease and the experience he has had enduring it. “I’ve been so terrified of ALS my entire life because it runs in my family,” Carbajal said.
His grandmother was diagnosed, his mother when she was in high school and now himself, at an earlier age than most. The video also shows Carbajal caring for his mother, who is unable to function on her own.
With weak hands and a heavy heart, he explains that ALS is not a very widespread disease; therefore, pharmaceutical companies don’t want to invest billions of dollars towards developing a medication.
According to Carbajal, the ice bucket challenge has been incredibly successful in spreading awareness and according to the Huffington Post, ALS awareness has raised over $88.5 million over this past summer.
Along with the ice bucket challenge, people are donating money in hopes that doctors will put it towards finding a cure.