family life

Ice Bucket Challenge Can Make a Difference

When I first heard about the ice bucket challenge, I didn’t get the point. What the heck does pouring a bucket of ice on your head do to help those suffering from ALS? But then I saw how much money has been raised: as of August 20, over $31.5 million has been donated to the ALS Association due to these crazy ice bucket challenges. That’s seriously good news because right now, there is no cure for ALS, and there are very few treatments available.

Friends, ALS is a brutal, horrid disease. I’m still haunted by how it affected my dad. I grieve less for his death than I do for those last couple of years of his life, as his life was taken from him bit by bit.

A writer named Bo Stern shared What an ALS Family Really Thinks about the Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s worth your time to read, but in short, she says ALS is horrible enough to warrant whatever it takes to raise awareness and help find a cure. I completely agree.

Exercises to understand living with ALS:

In the post I mentioned above, Bo shares a few “Empathetic Exercises” to help understand just a teeny bit of what it’s like to live with ALS. I’m sharing just a few of her 10 points.

  • Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food. Inhale deeply and appreciate the aroma. Now, imagine never being able to taste that – or any other food – for the rest of your life.
  • Put two large marshmallows in your mouth and have a conversation with your friends. How many times must you repeat yourself? How does this make you feel?
  • Strap weights to your ankles and climb a flight of stairs, taking two at a time. That’s the kind of strength it takes for someone with ALS to tackle the stairs on a good day.
  • Install a text-to-speech app on your phone or iPad and use it exclusively to communicate for one day.

The ALS ice bucket challenge:

Here’s how the challenge works. Participants must choose from two options: dump a bucket of ice on your head and make a small donation to (even $1 is fine!) or skip the ice and donate at least $100. Once tagged, you have 24 hours to complete the challenge, then you’re suppose to tag 3 more people to keep the ball rolling.

Earlier this week Kathryn took the ice bucket challenge; the kids got a big kick out of dumping buckets of ice water on their big sister!

ALS #icebucketchallenge

Kathryn is donating 75 cents for each like on her video within 48 hours after posting. Although I’ve donated to the ALS Association every year since my dad was diagnosed, I’m matching her contribution because I want to encourage that heart of hers. In the past week, she donated hair to Locks of Love and now her own money to ALS research. Not to mention all she does with her little brother and sister, even things like letting them dump the buckets because she knew they’d have fun with that. {Teens can be pretty doggone awesome, if given the chance.}

My dad would’ve laughed at all these crazy people getting ice dumped on their heads. And I sure do miss hearing that laugh.

Please consider making a donation to the ALS Association or A Life Story Foundation. Either way, you’ll be helping find a cure for ALS.

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Thanks for posting this! My 16 year old daughter has been challenged and needs to do it by tonight, and now after reading your post we understand both the challenge and the disease better.

I’m so sorry your dad had to suffer this. Your statement about grieving those last years of his life hit home for me — I lost my mom to brain cancer and my dad is approaching the final stages of a form of Alzheimer’s. Watching your parents suffer like that is just soooo hard. Hopefully this challenge can make a difference for the people with ALS.

Paige Jobe

Thank you so much for writing this. I, too, lost my dad to ALS, in April last year. And I completely agree with you in that watching him suffer through the stages of ALS was the worst. I’m sorry for your loss, but thank you again for sharing your story. And way to go, Kathryn!

Paige Jobe

Yes, it sure is! I did not know much about it before Dad was diagnosed. This Ice Bucket Challenge has been amazing not only for the funds that have been raised, but the awareness too!