From Ricky Martin to Jennifer Lopez, from Selena Gomez to Eva Longoria, from Carlos Vives to Thalia, and Alex Sensation to Daddy Yankee all these Latino superstars can now say they know what it’s like to have a bucket of ice filled water dumped onto them, but not in a bad way but for a very good cause.
Recently, a trend has exploded throughout social media websites and apps where celebrities are taking part in a large campaign to spread the awareness and raise funds for ALS. Back in late July, Pete Frates, a 29-year-old former Boston College Baseball star, started what has become known as #icebucketchallenge when he nominated himself to dump a bucket of ice water on himself.
Suffering from ALS himself for two years, Frates began the popular trend which has inspired countless celebrities, various politicians, and a number of corporate CEOs to take up the challenge and dump ice water over themselves. And so far the trend has been a huge success in getting out both awareness of ALS and stirring people to make donations to the one organization hoping to strike it out.
From July 29th up until today the ALS Association has received an estimated $9.5 million. The recent amount in donations is nearly 500% percent more in donations than the ALS Association has ever received during the same period last year.
Earlier this week, Jennifer Lopez took part in the ALS Icebucket Challenge when she posted a video of herself having ice water dumped onto her after her workout. In the video, Lopez was joined by her twins, Maximilian David and Emme Maribel who partook in dumping ice water onto their mother. Later, Lopez also appeared in the icebucketchallenge video with friend Leah Remini, whom she challenged in her own video.
On August 17, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla became the first Caribbean leader to take part in the icebucket challenge. After having ice water dumped on him by local firefighters in Puerto Rico, Padilla then challenged Puerto Rican lawmaker Jaime Perello Borras and Puerto Rican superstar Ricky Martin. Not alone in challenging him, actress Eva Longoria–who took the challenge herself–also challenged Martin as well.
Following the trend, Martin then challenged singer/producer will.I.am, Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue, Colombian actress Sofia Vergara, and several other stars in an effort to spread the awareness and raise funds for ALS.
So, what exactly is ALS?
ALS is more widely referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is named for the great Yankee baseball player, Lou Gehrig who garnered international attention to the disorder when it he was forced to retire from baseball in 1939 after becoming diagnosed with the disorder.
But its original name is short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS is a genetic disorder that is a progressive, muscle-wasting illness that affects an estimated 30,000 Americans at any given time.
Founded in 1985, the ALS Association has been the leading advocacy group for ALS and continues to work hard in funding research in order to strike out the disorder.
According to ALSA.org, ALS is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord,” and the disease also affects the motor neurons that travel from the brain to the spinal cord, from the spinal cord to the muscles, and from the muscles throughout the entire body.
As the condition of ALS takes hold of the individual, “the progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to [the person’s] death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”
Each year in the United States, it’s been reported that 5,600 people are diagnosed with ALS each year, and life expectancy is typically about two to five years. With an estimated 5,600 people becoming diagnosed with ALS that is about 15 new cases of people who have the disorder. At any given time, it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans will have the disease.
According to information provided by ALS Care Database, “Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in persons in their twenties and thirties. Generally though, ALS occurs in greater percentages as men and women grow older. ALS is 20% more common in men than in women. However with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women.”
How do you know if you, or someone you know, have ALS?
The early onset symptoms of ALS are so slight that they are generally overlooked by those who have it. If giving attention to the appearance of symptoms and the how the illness progress, the course of the disorder includes the following symptoms:
– muscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or the muscles of speech, swallowing or breathing.
– twitching (fasciculation) and cramping of muscles, especially those in the hands and feet impairment of the use of the arms and legs
– “thick speech” and difficulty in projecting the voice
– in more advanced stages, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing
So far there is no known cure for ALS, and as of now the current treatments that do exist do little to stop the disease’s progression.
Over the past month, the recent trend has raised awareness and more than $20 million for ALS. According to the ALS Association Development Officer Lance Slaughter the recent trend adds to the association’s advocacy efforts which has so far generated more than $365 million for ALS over the past 10 years.
How can you help further the research effort to stomp out ALS?
There are two ways you can help: You can either take on the challenge by recording yourself dumping a bucket of ice water onto yourself then upload the video with hashtags’ “#icebucketchallenge” and “strikeoutals” and then challenge someone else to do the same or you can go to the ALS Association’s website and make a donation there.
So, with the aid of the ALS Association and the recent icebucketchallenge craze maybe there will be a push in the right direction to furthering the research and finding a cure for ALS.
For more information on ALS visit the ALS Association to find out more.
I accept @Princeroyce @alexsensation1 and @jamminjohnny1067 #alsicebucketchallenge. I now nominate @MarcAnthony @Enriqueiglesias and @Matetraxx. You guys have 24 hours to complete the challenge. Please don't forget to donate at www.als-ny.org #icebucketchallenge #Strikeoutals ????:@ernd0gz Hagan sus donaciones a www.als-ny.org