This weekend marks the 4th Annual Bike and Hike for ALS, a fun challenge for local cyclists and hikers who would like a chance to experience two fantastic outdoor venues in central Arkansas in one event, the Arkansas River Trail and Pinnacle Mountain. But this isn’t the only challenge for those wishing to support both awareness and research funding for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. You may have seen videos popping up all over social media of people dumping water over their heads.
In the last two weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has quite literally “soaked” the nation. Everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake has poured a bucket of ice water over his or her head and challenged others do the same or make a donation to fight ALS within twenty-four hours.
Between July 29 and today, August 12, The ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received an astonishing $4 million in donations compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year. The ALS Association is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from those people who have been doused, made a donation, or both. Contributions further The Association’s mission to find a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.
“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”
With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference. Since July 29, The Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause.
“While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible,” said Newhouse, “the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable. People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight to find treatments and a cure for ALS.”
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe.
“With more people aware and more people engaged in the fight against ALS, we are poised to work collaboratively with not only other ALS organizations, but also with pharmaceutical companies and academia to expedite new treatments for people impacted by the disease,” Newhouse continued.
Experience the #IceBucketChallenge phenomenon that’s spreading ALS Awareness across social media. Challenge your friends and family today!