Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Motor Neurone Disease: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge

Sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, it is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone's head to promote awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. It went viral on social media during July-August 2014. In the US, many people participate for the ALS Association, and in the UK, many people participate for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, although some individuals have opted to donate their money from the Ice Bucket Challenge to other organizations.

The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then nominating others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated participants have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.

Origin - The origins of the idea of dumping cold water on one's head to raise money for charity are unclear and have been attributed to multiple sources. From mid-2013 to early 2014, a challenge of unknown origin often called the "Cold Water Challenge" became popular on social media in areas of the northern United States. The task usually involved the option of either donating money to cancer research or having to jump into cold water.

One version of the challenge, which took place in Salem, Indiana as early as May 15, 2014, involved dousing participants with cold water and then donating to a charity; for example, the Auckland Division of the Cancer Society of New Zealand. As with similar challenges, it was usually filmed so footage can be shared online.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation popularized the "Cold Water Challenge" in early 2014 to raise funds as an unsanctioned spin-off of the polar plunge most widely used by Special Olympics as a fundraiser.

On May 20, 2014, the Washington Township, New Jersey fire department posted a video on YouTube participating in the "Cold Water Challenge" with fire hoses. Participating members of the department were subsequently punished for using fire department equipment without permission.

Shifting focus to ALS - The challenge first received increased media attention in the United States on June 30, 2014, when personalities of the program Morning Drive, which airs weekdays on Golf Channel, televised the social-media phenomenon, and performed a live, on-air Ice Bucket Challenge.

Soon after, the challenge was brought to mainstream audiences when television anchor Matt Lauer did the Ice Bucket Challenge on July 15, 2014 on NBC's The Today Show at Greg Norman's challenge.

On the same day, golfer Chris Kennedy did the challenge and then challenged his cousin Jeanette Senerchia of Pelham, New York, whose husband, Anthony, has had ALS for 11 years. Kennedy "was the first ... to focus the freezing fundraiser on ALS research."

Take the challenge, donate and help us create a world without ALS!

When doing the challenge, please use the hashtags #icebucketchallenge, #alsicebucketchallenge, and #strikeoutals. We have created social media graphics for you to download and use to help spread awareness about ALS and the #icebucketchallenge. Click on an image to download a full-size version.

The Ice Bucket Challenge may not be suitable for small children, the elderly, anyone in poor health, or animals of any kind, so please use good judgment.

Please be thoughtful about water usage! If you’re in an area of the country or world affected by drought, repurpose the water for later use or help spread ALS awareness by becoming an ALS advocate, joining the Walk to Defeat ALS® in your community, getting involved in our fundraisers, or sharing information about this disease via social media. Or you can make a donation instead a twww.alsa.org/donate.

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Ice Bucket Challenge Rules Explained: How Challenge Helps ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease Charities?
SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son dumps a bucket of ice water onto himself as he takes part in the ALS ice bucket challenge at the company headquarters in Tokyo on Aug 20, 2014

You probably have encountered at least a couple of videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The videos are basically records of activities which involve dumping a bucket of ice water on someone's head. This is done to promote awareness of the disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease while at the same time encouraging more people to donate to its research cause.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral throughout a wide variety of social media platforms (particularly on Facebook) during late July and August of 2014.

There have been more than 1.5 million videos pertaining to the challenge that have been shared on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13. One of the most long-staying trend topics, the awareness phenomenon was mentioned over 2.5 million times on Twitter between the end of July and mid of August, according to The New York Times,

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), Lou Gehrig's disease in the United States, and rarely Charcot disease—is a neurodegenerative disease with various causes. ALS is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, and difficulty in speaking (dysarthria), swallowing (dysphagia), and breathing (dyspnea). ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases.

In the U.S., more than 5,600 are diagnosed every year, and up to 30,000 Americans are currently affected. ALS is responsible for 2 deaths per 100,000 people per year.

Median survival time from onset to death is 39 months, and only 4% survive longer than 10 years, although rare cases survive 50 years or more. Most die from respiratory failure, usually within three to five years from onset of symptoms.

Signs and symptoms - The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body due to the degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel function and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually spared until the final stages of the disorder.

Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients, although some (about 5%) also develop frontotemporal dementia. A higher proportion of patients (30–50%) also have more subtle cognitive changes which may go unnoticed, but are revealed by detailed neuropsychological testing. Infrequently ALS coexists in individuals who also experience dementia, degenerative muscle disorder, and degenerative bone disorder as part of a syndrome called multisystem proteinopathy. Sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system are generally unaffected, meaning the majority of people with ALS will maintain hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.

related: Motor neuron disease

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This is why I will never take part in the ice bucket challenge
It’s the craze that’s taken over your Facebook feed, the nation and beyond – yes, it’s the ice bucket challenge

Millions of people have been tipping buckets of ice cold water over their heads to promote awareness of Motor Neurone Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS in the US) and encourage charity donations to fund research.

Once the bucket has been tipped, that person challenges others to take the plunge – they usually have 24-hours to take the challenge or donate to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Now, as I glance at my Facebook page and feel the challenge creeping ever closer, I’ve had to consider whether I want jump on this band wagon.

10 of the best celebrity ice bucket challenges
ALS ice bucket challenge - In case you’ve missed the latest craze to hit the web, the ALS ice bucket challenge is the campaign currently dominating social media

Started by Peter Frates, a former baseball captain with motor neurone disease, the ice bucket challenge aims to support and raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the umbrella term used to describe motor neurone diseases in the US.

Participants have to – you guessed it – throw a bucket of icy water over their heads before nominating at least two others to also complete the challenge. The idea is that those who refuse to complete the challenge have to donate to charity, but many decide to make a contribution to either the ALS association or other organisations that support motor neurone diseases as well as pouring ice water over themselves.

Naturally, celebrities have been eager to get involved with the campaign and have been nominating other famous faces to take part.

1. Chris Pratt

2. Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara and Levi Miller

3. Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie

4. Anna Kendrick

5. Taylor Swift and Jaime King

6. Simon Cowell

7. Ben Affleck

8. Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher

9. Shakira and Gerard Pique

10. Paul Bissonnette

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