By MARIANA CEJA
As many of us watch the phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, some ask whether the challenge is worthwhile.
Let me answer that question. Yes, you should participate in the challenge and donate money, to create awareness for ALS and to help find a cure.
Using a bucket of water and ice, people worldwide helped raise more than $88.5 million in less than a month. Everyone should do it.
Let me share the story of James Fennewald, my roommate’s father. He’s the head of a household and worked 12-hour shifts Monday through Saturday as half owner of a company.
One day he fell at work, but thought nothing of it. The next day, he fell again. He later noticed he couldn’t move his feet backward. He thought it was weird, but kept working.
When his appendix exploded four years ago, requiring surgery, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.
The progressive neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, then spreads to muscles. Victims have a life expectancy of three to five years.
Fennewald didn’t want to stop working when he lost movement in his legs, but had no choice. He’s lost his business, and is in danger of losing his house.
When his body became three-quarters paralyzed, he was moved to a homecare facility. He must be fed via tubes. He can move his lips but no sound comes out of his mouth. The only way he can communicate is by blinking once for yes and twice for no.
ALS has no cure. No treatment is available. He and his family have no option but to wait for the inevitable.
Critics say the Ice Bucket Challenge wastes water or that participants are just seeking attention. I say it caught our attention because it is silly and because so many celebrities and politicians took the challenge.
Please participate. Spread the word about ALS, and donate so that we can find a cure for this debilitating disease.
Ceja participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge and nominates you readers to participate as well. You have 24 hours to complete the challenge.