Every 90 minutes, an American dies from ALS. As tens of thousands of people continue to take the Ice Bucket Challenge, that chilling statistic is what Steve Gleason wants you to remember, long after the last bucket of ice-cold water has been dumped.
In 2011, the NFL star, husband, and father was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord and affects muscle function. Currently, Gleason uses eye-tracking to help him communicate, move his wheelchair, and live his life to the fullest, despite the disease.
He also encourages us all to donate to organizations that fund research for ALS as well as help to make life easier for those affected by it. His own organization, Team Gleason, challenges the devastating disease with advocacy and fundraising. Team Gleason provides others with ALS access to life-affirming events and assistive technology until a cure is found.
…Which brings us back to the Ice Bucket Challenge. As of this writing, the Challenge has raised $79.7 million from 1.7 million donors. This money will go a long way toward researching treatments and finding a cure. According to Team Gleason, there is only “one single therapy approved for treating ALS progression – the drug Rilutek (riluzole) with the accepted, modest benefit estimated to be a three month extension in patient survival.”
Steve took the challenge himself recently, and reminded us to go beyond the bucket and step up to donate, or to help someone with ALS, along with accepting the challenge. Watch Steve below:
Ice Bucket Challenge from Team Gleason on Vimeo.
Image credit: “Bill Gates ice bucket challenge” by mwaseema is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/