OSHKOSH – By now, it’s become quite the familiar sight: people pouring buckets of icy water on their heads.
It’s the “Ice Bucket Challenge” going viral on social media and it’s in the spirit of Making a Difference for people diagnosed with the debilitating disease, ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“A little chilly, but not bad otherwise!” exclaimed Jim Bauer.
Bauer was one of several members of an Oshkosh ALS support group who completed the “Ice Bucket Challenge” Tuesday.
He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS two years ago.
“My arms are starting to weaken considerably, but my legs are still good and everything else is still good, but I know what the end results are and they aren’t pretty,” explained Bauer.
The degenerative disease attacks nerve cells in the brain that lead to muscles. It ultimately causes death.
“They become paralyzed in a body that no longer works for them. They can still feel, they have sensation, but they can no longer move,” explained Diane Fergot a care services coordinator with the ALS Association, Wisconsin Chapter
There is no cure and it’s unclear what causes ALS.
“Some of my best friends are really sorry I have this terrible disease, but they have no idea what it is until you actually explain it to them,” Bauer told FOX 11
But as local leaders, celebrities and ordinary people take this challenge, awareness is raised and so is money.
“To help us both with research, as well as providing support to these families,” explained Fergot.
The hope is that after you get the water dumped on your head you also make a donation to the ALS Association if you can.
“Many people that are taking on the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ are also donating as well as challenging their friends and family to donate,” Fergot told FOX 11.
So how much has it raised? Here are the facts: between July 29th and August 19th the national ALS Association raised almost $23 million. That’s compared to about $2 million in the same time period last year.
But is there a any concern people are just doing this for attention for themselves?
“I think there is some concern about that. I guess from our vantage point, for myself as a member of this organization, as well as the people that are living with this disease, hey if it’s gonna draw this attention, even if it’s for a short period of time, it’s helping us,” answered Fergot.
“This is really catching on and it’s really awesome the way it’s going,” added Bauer.
If you’d like to learn more about ALS, or make a donation you can go to the ALS Association website here: http://www.alsa.org/