August 26th, 2014
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Until last Sunday morning, I was one of those people who thought the Ice Bucket
Challenge was silly and annoying. I could not believe how many times my husband rcould scroll through Facebook and watch people dump ice water over their heads. When I would see video clips in my own Facebook feed, I would not watch them for two reasons - because I was bothered by the fact that my friends had little else to post and because I was hoping no one would nominate me. I was also disappointed that people would rather douse themselves in freezing water than donate to a good cause. Those feelings came to an abrupt halt last Sunday morning when I happened to catch a feature on ESPN
about Pete Frates.
Pete Frates is a 2007 graduate of Boston College where he was the captain of the baseball team. Just four years after graduation, he began to notice early symptoms of ALS but was not diagnosed until 2012. Because ALS is a disease with no treatment and no cure, his health has rapidly deteriorated in the past two years. He currently needs a full time nurse, uses a feeding tube to eat and speaks through the use of a computer. Although ALS has changed life as he once knew it, wonderful things have continued to happen for him. Determined to meet the disease head on, he quickly became an advocate for ALS patients and even spoke to the Food and Drug Administration in March of 2013 to make a plea for more attention and more action regarding ALS research and treatment. He was also married in 2013 to his wife Julie whom he met 8 months before his diagnosis. They are happily awaiting the birth of their baby in September. Pete and his friend, Pat Quinn, also an ALS patient, have been credited with creating the Ice Bucket Challenge this summer to raise awareness for ALS. The challenge began with athletes in the Boston area who challenged athletes across the country. Professional athletes and even entire teams seemed to embrace the challenge. Along the way, celebrities outside the world of sports became involved and in just a short period of time the challenge trickled down to regular folks like my friends who were clogging my Facebook newsfeed with their own Ice Bucket Challenge videos. Of course, now that I know Pete's story, my feelings have changed. I am thrilled to see so many people become involved with the promotion of ALS awareness and I am so happy that they have raised over nine times more than they would normally raise in the same amount of time. I am also extremely proud of the attorneys and staff from Bordas & Bordas who took the challenge
last week. They not only drenched themselves in ice cold water but they also made a $1,000 donation. It's so nice for me to work each day with such generous people who are always willing to step up for a good cause.
As I began to write this blog last week, I received a video on my cell phone in which my six year old goddaughter joyfully nominated me to complete the challenge. I gladly accepted and asked a wonderful group of cheerleaders from Wheeling Central Catholic High School to join me. As their coach, I wanted the challenge to be meaningful. We took the time to talk about ALS and Pete's story. We also joined in prayer for all those whose lives have been impacted by this disease. As for me, I now celebrate each video I see on Facebook and I hope they continue to dominate my Facebook feed for a long time to come.