In the last two weeks, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” has quite literally “soaked” the nation. Everyone from Chabad Shluchim to Politicians and Hollywood stars have poured a bucket of ice water over his or her head and challenged others do the same or make a donation to fight ALS within twenty-four hours.
While the ALS Association benefited from the $15 Million dollars in donations received from those who have been doused, the phenomenon has also stirred a chord in the hearts of Chabad Chassidim worldwide, as it reminds us of the Shluchim who are currently suffering with the disease, among them Rabbi Yitzy Hurwitz, who has been blogging and writing about his situation, inspiring Lubavitchers worldwide.
“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”
With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference. Since July 29, The Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause.
“While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible,” said Newhouse, “the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable. People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight to find treatments and a cure for ALS.”
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe.
“With more people aware and more people engaged in the fight against ALS, we are poised to work collaboratively with not only other ALS organizations, but also with pharmaceutical companies and academia to expedite new treatments for people impacted by the disease,” Newhouse continued.
To donate to The Hurwitz Family Fund go to https://hurwitzfamilyfund.com