Did you partake in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last year? Over 2.4 million daring people participated in the event, in order to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The challenge went viral July-August 2014, and the challenge generated millions for this devastating disease.
Before the challenge, many people had never heard of ALS and perhaps may still not know many facts about it. June is ALS awareness month and although there may not be as much hype this year, it’s still important to get involved and share the awareness and help where you can. This disease is one that often results in death very quickly which could be why we don’t have much knowledge and medical treatment for it.
What is ALS?
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord which control muscle movement. If we break apart the full title Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, this is what it means:
a – absence or no
myo – muscle
trophic – nourishment
lateral – side (meaning the spine)
sclerosis – hardening or scarring
Basically, it means “no muscle nourishment” and when we have no nourishment to the tissues, it causes atrophy or wasting away of muscle which causes hardening or scarring.
What are the Symptoms?
Early symptoms include:
- muscle cramping
- slurred speech
Often it takes time to diagnose because these initial symptoms are very similar to other neurological diseases. Average expectancy of life once diagnosed is 2-5 years as these symptoms quickly increase and worsen.
Further Symptoms include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Inability to talk
- Shortness of breath at rest
- Inability to walk
Raising awareness of ALS is the first step to making a change and finding a cure. June is ALS Awareness Month and there are many ways to be involved including
ALS Jump 4 Pals – Skydiving in Barrie.
Jim Hunter ALS Cycle for a Cure
If you remember the Aim2Walk Ice Bucket Challenge last year, you may remember the chillin twist. Jesse wanted to make our video “different” so he drew cartoon images of the team, however, he was not ready for the surprise we had for him. Take a peek at the link below in case you missed it.
To learn more about ALS go to http://www.als.ca/