Mustangs Accept the Ice Bucket Challenge from Canyon Echoes on Vimeo.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) isn’t something that was commonly mentioned before. However this summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge didn’t take much time to go viral.This challenge was created to raise awareness for ALS. It’s also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is named after the American major league baseball legend who had this illness.

ALS is a progressive disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, ultimately leading to total paralysis. Approximately 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year. This disease can strike anyone at any time and the life expectancy is two to five years from the time of diagnosis. Watching a loved one suffer through this disease is difficult and heartbreaking. Many afflicted with ALS are anxiously waiting for the availability of better treatments and a cure.  

According to the ALS association, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $100 million so far. Social media has proven to be a vital tool in spreading awareness of this disease. Our school is also making an effort for this cause by hosting a fundraiser game. This Friday, October 17, the staff and students will battle it out in a volleyball game to donate money to this cause.

The ALS ice bucket challenge involves people drenching themselves with buckets of ice cold water, then nominating other people to do the same, and posting it on social media. People can either chose to accept the challenge or donate to any ALS charity.

There have been a number of criticisms on this challenge. Some people think it’s focused mainly on having fun rather than supporting ALS. People lose sight of why they’re doing what they’re doing. A lot of the ice bucket challenges by students don’t even mention the word ALS and some don’t even know what ALS is. Another criticism is that there have been adverse health effects such as injuries due to electrocution, unconsciousness, and even one death has been linked to this. People have also criticized the wastefulness of water in light of the fact that there are people dying of thirst around the world. However the main goal of this challenge is to raise awareness and donate to the ALS cause, which has been overwhelmingly successful.

The success of the ALS challenge is important, especially since there are people everywhere with the disease. Coach Stevenson’s childhood friend, Kreg Palko is currently battling ALS. “When I was in middle school one of my best friends was Kreg Palko. He was also one of the best athletes in the school.  He was so fast he received a football scholarship and played cornerback at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.  He served our country as a pilot before entering the business world.  He loved the outdoors, surfing, skiing, hiking, etc.  All that has changed.  ALS has robbed him of the use of his arms, legs, and the ability to speak.  Soon, it will shut down his organs one by one as he lies helpless to fight it.  It is such a sad, early ending of an amazing life.”  

Please encourage others to help with Palko’s ever-growing medical expenses. If you would like to donate, visit his fundraising page here. If you would like to help research ALS overall, donate to the ALS Association.

Let’s bring hope to this brutal disease by showing our support!