I have been challenged. Yes, the ice bucket one. How can I not be...?
Everyone under the sun has been posting videos on Facebook. The Ice Bucket Challenge has reached celebrities including Roger Federer, Justin Timberlake, J. Lo, Anna Wintour (yes, she did have half a bucket poured over her hairdo!), Oprah Winfrey and billionaire Bill Gates dousing themselves in ice water. The timing is perfect since it is summer in the Northern hemisphere therefore weather and holidays allow for most of us to accomplish the challenge within 24 hours.
I filmed my son's contribution about three weeks ago on a beach in Greece without thinking it could be my turn soon.
Although I am usually the first to adhere to wacky, fun ideas, this social media buzz has gone a wee bit over the top in my opinion.
The good news is that the ice bucket donations have reached over $80 million to date - the ALS Association had raised $64 million in all of 2013 - and has become a pop culture phenomenon, but how many really know any more about the Lou Gehrig disease than a few months ago?
Therefore I accept the nomination bestowed upon me by my friend Mamita Cubana and will donate towards the ALS foundation but beforehand - rather than getting wet - I prefer to share 10 facts about this disease that you should know and remember:
1.) ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
2.) It was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot.
3.) It wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease. Ending the career of one of the most beloved baseball players of all time, the disease is still most closely associated with his name.
4.) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
5.) Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.
6.) When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
7.) Most commonly, ALS strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70.
8.) ALS has cut short the lives of such notable and courageous individuals such as actor David Niven.
9.) The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral thanks to former Boston College baseball star Pete Frates and his wife Julie.
10.) The co-founder of the hugely popular challenge, Corey Griffin, 27, has died after drowning in a diving accident in Massachusetts last week.
Following is a short graphic video about the effects of Lou Gehrig's disease:
In the spirit of the challenge, I'd like to nominate my daughter Expat girl, the Flaneuse Press Officer and my sister Pink! You have 24 hours. When doing the challenge, please use the hashtags #icebucketchallenge, #alsicebucketchallenge, and #strikeoutals. Donations can be made to: http://www.alsa.org/