News, sports staff members join in ALS ice bucket challenge
Rockland — The Rockland newsroom of Courier Publications LLC joined the #IceBucketChallenge phenomenon that has been spreading ALS Awareness across social media Thursday afternoon, Aug. 14.
In response to challenges from friends, co-workers and family members, Sports Editor and Company Manager Ken Waltz, A&E Editor Dagney Ernest, Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell and reporter Beth Birmingham stepped out into the sunshine and doused themselves with buckets of ice water.
The newsroom also sent in a donation of $100 to the ALS Association and encourages others to make donations in support of the cause.
According to the ALS Association, the Ice Bucket Challenge has “soaked” the nation in the last two weeks. Everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake has poured a bucket of ice water over his or her head and challenged others to do the same or make a donation to fight ALS within 24 hours.
Between July 29 and Aug. 12, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received an astonishing $4 million in donations, compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year.
The ALS Association is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from those people who have been doused, made a donation or both. Contributions further the Association’s mission to find a cure for ALS, while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease, according to an ALS Association news release.
"We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative."
With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference. Since July 29, the Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause.
"While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible,” said Newhouse, “the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable. People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight to find treatments and a cure for ALS."
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ALS, and it only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk and, eventually, breathe.
"With more people aware and more people engaged in the fight against ALS, we are poised to work collaboratively with not only other ALS organizations, but also with pharmaceutical companies and academia to expedite new treatments for people impacted by the disease," Newhouse continued.
For more information abour ALS and the challenge, visit alsa.org or find Ice Bucket Challenge on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram social media sites.