ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge

Funding Hope: The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

The Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) “has been a game-changer,” said Barbara Newhouse, CEO of the ALS Association.  To date, the organization has received an unprecedented donation of more than $22 million, unheard of in the organization’s history.

Imagine being a vibrant middle aged man whose symptoms started with slurring speech at work…just enough to get co-workers whispering and wondering if he had been “indulging” on the ride in to the office, only to get the dreaded diagnosis of “ALS.”

Yeah, sure, we’ve all heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but how does it really impact the world and family of the patient?  Each family who has experienced the change and decline in their loved one has its own story.  And I am quite certain that any one of them would have dumped a hundred buckets of ice water on themselves if it meant more time with that father, mother, brother, sister, daughter or son.

ALS is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.   Motor neurons, which lead from the spinal cord to all muscles, degenerate and eventually the cells die.  This means the ability of the brain to initiate and control movement ceases.  Eventually, patients may become totally paralyzed, unable to speak, swallow or breathe.

The ALS Association’s mission includes providing services to assist people with ALS and their families.  The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.

Physical Therapists help people with ALS by designing exercise programs to decrease muscle cramps and stiffness, strengthen unaffected muscles, improve cardiovascular health and make equipment recommendations to improve quality of life.

What will the ALSA do with the donations raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge?  According to Newhouse, “invest prudently in helping people with ALS and their families and caregivers in the battle against the disease, while resolutely pursuing all avenues to extend, improve and ultimately save lives.”

Karen Kovacs PT, OCS is a Clinical Director at Tidewater Physical Therapys Gloucester Point Clinic.  She is helping to coordinate the 2nd Annual Richmond Endurance Athlete Symposium: A Day of Motivation and Education, January 24, 2015 at The Westin Richmond.  Endurance means something different to everyone, especially someone living with ALS.  Tidewater Physical Therapy and Tidewater Performance are Title Sponsors.  Proceeds from the event will be donated to Richmond 2015, host of the UCI World Cycling Championships, and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia.

Tidewater Physical Therapy is proud to participate in the awareness campaign developed by the ALSA.