This week, Troy University faculty members have been taking part in the social media craze known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
According to alsa.org, ALS is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.”
When these neurons die, the connection from the brain to the muscles is lost, leaving the person with no control over the part of the body affected. Some people with ALS have even experienced complete paralysis.
Approximately 5,600 people are diagnosed with ALS yearly in the US.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, which requires a person to have a bucket of ice water poured over his or her head, was originally meant to help raise money for whatever charity the person challenged liked.
Chris Kennedy, a minor-league pro golfer, helped make ALS the focus of the challenge and started a trend that has now raised over $22 million dollars for ALS research.
The challenge, now used to raise awareness of the disease, has been performed by celebrities and athletes.
Local celebrity Coach Blakeney, head coach of the Troy football team, and other members of the athletic department have taken part in the challenge; Journalism and communication teachers Robbyn Taylor and Jeff Spurlock have also taken part.
Robbyn Taylor, a Journalism and Communication lecturer, believes that the Ice Bucket Challenge and social media are great ways to promote awareness of this disease.
“I think that social media is a great way to promote anything,”Taylor said. “That’s where people see things. Lou Gehrig’s disease is debilitating and deadly and we should do anything we can do to bring awareness to this affliction.”
If you would like to learn more about ALS, you can visit the website alsa.org.