Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS - often called "Lou Gehrig's disease" - is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Patients often lose control of their muscles and may even become paralyzed. There is no known cure or treatment for ALS, but researchers continue to search for a drug that may slow its progression.
Recently, the ALS Association launched the "Ice Bucket Challenge" campaign to spread awareness for ALS and raise funds for ALS research. Ordinary people and celebrities alike from across the nation have stepped up to the challenge by posting videos of themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their head. Prior to the icy pour, they state they are raising awareness and dollars for ALS, and then challenge others to do the same and/or donate to ALS research within a certain time period.
"Ice Bucket Challenge" videos have taken over social media. Already, the ALS Association has received more than $40 million in donations compared to $1.9 million in the same time period last year.
With hopes to further the success of this great cause, the staff at Niagara Hospice accepted the "Ice Bucket Challenge." Niagara Hospice House staff members Tony Bailey and Ann Coia challenged Kay Dekker, vice president of hospice services; Kerry Bumpers and the Odd Fellow & Rebekah Rehab. & Health Care Center recreation department challenged all of the Niagara Hospice staff.
More than 25 Niagara Hospice staff members agreed to be soaked with ice water Friday afternoon to raise awareness and funds for ALS.
"Our hospice staff members work with many patients who have ALS and know firsthand the devastating effects of this disease," Dekker said. "It is a privilege to support such a worthy cause and to help draw attention to the need for further research to find a cure."
In their video posted on the Niagara Hospice Facebook page late Friday, the staff calls out several other local organizations to accept their challenge and contribute to the fight against ALS.
Niagara Hospice served more than 900 families last year (more than 21,000 Niagara County residents since 1988). Hospice is specialized care for the terminally ill. Niagara Hospice provides support services to both the patient and family - providing comfort, dignity and choice. For more information, call Niagara Hospice at 716-439-4417 or visitwww.NiagaraHospice.org.