In the last two weeks, celebrities, businesses and thousands of people across America have taken on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge™. If you haven’t been nominated yet, don’t worry, the Ice Bucket Challenge™ is bound to make its way to your door. It’s hard to determine what’s better: the look of nervous anticipation on a person’s face before they feel the chilly ice water or the reaction they produce afterwards. The videos have literally been drenching the nation, but what’s more amazing is the generous donations and the visibility, ALS is getting.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also known as Lou Gehring’s Disease after Yankee baseball legend who was famously forced into early retirement after being diagnosed with the disease in 1939. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When a person has ALS, the motor neurons, which provide voluntary movement and muscle power in the body, degenerate and eventually die. As a result, the brain cannot initiate and control muscle movement. Progressively the muscles begin to waste away and paralysis may occur. Patients in the later stage of ALS may eventually become completely paralyzed.
According to the ALS Association, it is estimated that 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time, that’s two per 100,000 people. The average life expectancy of an ALS patient is two to five years from the time of diagnosis; however, this varies by case. Essentially, there is no treatment for ALS. Riluzole is the only approved drug associated with ALS but it normally only slows the symptoms by a few months.
As of Wednesday, August 27, the ALS Association has received $94.3 million in donations. This same time last year (July 29 to August 27), they raised $2.7 million. We think it’s safe to say the Ice Bucket Challenge™ has been a success. President and CEO of the ALS Association, Barbara Newhouse, has said, “they are absolutely committed to transparency and will be communicating regularly with the ALS community, donors, media and the public about progress to invest the dollars wisely in areas that will have maximum impact on the fight against the devastating disease.” So exactly where are your donations going? As of Tuesday, August 26, they do not have a percentage breakdown of how the money will be allocated. But Newhouse can assure donors that their top priorities are providing ALS research and care services to people living with ALS.
Doctor Dan is honored to be a part of the challenge and proud to donate money to help all those diagnosed with ALS. Watch his video below!