The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the nation by storm last summer when Pete Frates and Pat Quinn launched the now-famous challenge to raise money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost; eventually, the ALS patient is left with total paralysis, inability to swallow, inability breathe, and ultimately multi-system / organ failure and death.
As a home healthcare organization with many ALS patients, it’s important to us that we’re part of the solution.
Ice Bucket Challenge: Round 2
To raise awareness of this devastating disease again this year, we participated in the challenge during our summer Employee Appreciation event. Gathering together with our administrative team and field nurses, we sat together in a close circle as ice-cold water was doused upon us.
Breakthrough in Research
With hundreds of millions of dollars raised to help fund ALS research last year, scientists believe the money may have funded one of the biggest breakthroughs yet. Earlier this month, scientists announced the detection of a protein (TDP-43), which is found in clumps in the brain in 97% of ALS patients.
While the presence of this dysfunctional protein in ALS patients is not new, scientists recently identified that TDP-43 instructs nerve cells how to make proteins. When it malfunctions by bunching up into clumps, it causes a series of events that eventually leads to the killing of brain and spinal cord cells. Scientists are now hoping to fix TDP-43 function in ALS patients to slow down the progression of the disease.
For more information about this breakthrough, go to the journal Science.
To watch our ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video from last year, click here.
To donate, go to ALS Therapy Development Institute, a nonprofit with a mission to discover and develop effective treatment(s) to end ALS.