ALS Awareness Month – #ALSAwareness (Week 3)

May 28, 2020

The Ice Bucket Challenge is one example of an event designed to raise awareness that inspired unparalleled giving on behalf of ALS Awareness. The Ice Bucket Challenge is an activity involving the dumping of a bucket of ice water over a person’s head, either by another person or self-administered. The Ice Bucket Challenge began as a way of promoting awareness of ALS (or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and raising funds for ALS research. The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in 2014, especially in the United States. Celebrities, politicians and athletes participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge by posting videos of themselves online and on television. The Ice Bucket Challenge became so popular that it prompted organizations such as The Muscular Dystrophy Association to discontinue its annual 24-hour telethon and rethink and re-evaluate how it can connect with the public.1

Rules for the Ice Bucket Challenge is within 24 hours of being challenged, participants have to record a video of themselves in continuous footage. First, they are to announce their acceptance of the challenge followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water. Then, the bucket is to be lifted and poured over the participant’s head. Then the participant can nominate a minimum of three other people to participate in the challenge. People can choose to donate money or perform the challenge.

This week, in continuation of this series, I will present Myth #4 and Myth #5 of ALS which were identified by the ALS Association:2

Myth #4: Muscle loss and paralysis caused by ALS means you can’t feel pain or experience other sensations. People with ALS, even at an advanced stage, can still see, hear, smell, and feel touch. The nerves that carry feelings of hot, cold, pain, pressure, or even being tickled, are not affected by ALS. ALS is a disease that affects the parts of the nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. Involuntary muscles, those that control the heart, GI tract, bowel and bladder function, and sexual functions are not directly affected by ALS.

Myth #5: ALS affects everyone the same way. From the initial symptoms to how the disease progresses, ALS can affect people very differently. In fact, no two individuals present exactly the same. Some people’s disease progresses very slowly, while others have changes that happen more quickly. Some individuals have severe involvement in one area before the disease spreads, while others experience rapid progression throughout their body. Some people may have severe weakness of one area, but little in others (e.g., unable to swallow but still able to walk and drive), and still others may demonstrate a similar severity of involvement of different areas. Eventually, ALS takes away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe. How fast and in what order this occurs is very different from person to person.

Beloved, according to the ALS Association, ALS is a complex disease. For more detailed information about ALS, and the programs and services available to help people with ALS live a fuller life with the disease, please visit alsa.org.

Article’s Sources:

1 Wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Bucket_Challenge

2 ALS Association, www@alsawi.org

Next Week: Conclusion

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