My BIL sent me the ALS ice bucket challenge this morning. I knew I would do it but I wanted to make sure the message wouldn’t be lost. More importantly I wanted to be part of the ALS awareness campaign by actually donating. There is no foundation for ALS awareness or research in the Philippines. There’s a Facebook group but I don’t know who they are and I only donate to registered organizations. So began a very interesting discussion on my Facebook page on how to give this ice bucket challenge more relevance in the Philippine context. You can see it here.
ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. The first time I heard of ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease was when I was a freshman in university in Canada. My friend’s mom was diagnosed with it. She quickly deteriorated and died within a couple of years. I also took on a summer job to assist a woman with ALS. Her name was Susan. She had already lost control of her motor skills while mentally she was still ok. She worked for a government department, and they kept her working as long as she wanted and could. She would dictate her letters and documents to me in a very slurred manner, and I’d write/type for her. I also mixed her liquid food. I saw how fast ALS took over her body. It’s a horrible illness.
I’m glad that this awareness campaign has gotten so big. It’s now here in the Philippines. However I think it’s futile to just do the bucket challenge and not actually donate or discuss the issues. So I did the challenge plus donated money to ALS Canada.
In keeping with the original spirit of the ice bucket challenge I am also bringing up another cause that’s very close to my heart – Breast Cancer Prevention. The Philippines has the highest rate of breast cancer in the region. Until we find a cure, our best defense is early prevention. So I’m donating free mammograms for women in need through I Can Serve Foundation. Hope thats ok!
BTW the bowls were filled with ice but I guess they melted while I was talking. We’re here in the tropics after all… apparently very near the airport too.
I urge you to find your own meaning and cause to add to ALS awareness. If you can, please donate to a reputable research fund. It is only through research that we will one day find a cure for these medical conditions.
To know more about how the ALS and how the ice bucket challenge went viral, watch this.
For info on ALS Canada, http://www.als.ca
For Breast Cancer support, http://www.icanservefoundation.org