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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Ice Bucket Challenge

Published August 29, 2014 4:21 PM by Lisa Mueller

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed more videos of my friends appearing on various social media networks of themselves dumping ice cold water on their heads and nominating others to do the same. I didn't know much about how the trend started and after some reading (as well as the messages in each video), learned it was a fundraising effort to raise money and awareness for ALS.

Pete Frates, a former college baseball athlete who has been diagnosed with ALS since 2012, helped to start the viral #IceBucketChallenge online. According to the website, "The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness.

People can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS Charity of their choice, or do both." As of August 24, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $70 million, and the ALSA website has experienced delays due to the overwhelming number of visitors logging on to donate.

I love the Ice Bucket Challenge! I was nominated by my aunt this weekend and was excited to be a part of it. As a physical therapist I've seen a lot of fundraising efforts, most of which are research letters in the mail or walks to support various causes. I like that this epidemic is unique and regards a pathology that typically doesn't receive much fundraising attention.


Having worked with a handful of patients who were diagnosed with ALS, I know there is still much research to be done. As the progressive neurodegenerative disease impacts the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord, patients typically lose motor function over time, significantly impairing their ability to stand, walk, or care for themselves. Physical therapists can play an important role in helping patients with ALS live independently for as long as possible, usually with the help of caregivers.

Have you seen videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge? Have you been nominated? Will you donate to Have you worked with a patient with ALS? What are your thoughts about this social epidemic?

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