The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge needs no explanation.  Images and videos of friends and foes filled our Facebook newsfeeds for weeks on end.  Will we be challenged? If so, who will we put to task?  How much do I have to donate?  Who knew that a few drenched heads would eventually tally over $100 million in one month?

According to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (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. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

While the disease was discovered over 100 years ago, why is it now coming to the forefront of popular support?  It began when Chris Kennedy, a golfer in Sarasota, Fla., was nominated to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, which at the time, had nothing to do with ALS. The campaign was not tied to any specific charity, and participants would select a charity of their choice for donations. Kennedy’s friend had selected a charity that benefits a young child with cancer in the area. Kennedy, passing the challenge along, then selected ALS because a relative is suffering from the disease. Kennedy nominated his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband Anthony is the one suffering from ALS. Kennedy posted this video on July 15—what appears to be the first instance in which the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS were linked.

The money donated to the ALS Association will fund approximately 100 active research projects ranging from genetic testing and therapies to working with academia, governments and non-profits to “recognize novel approaches that have led to significant ALS research findings.”

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, but how can we continue the goodwill while the disease continues to affect millions? has a simple idea.  Go online and design a shirt – or 3 shirts – one for each category of commitment to the Ice Bucket Challenge and the plight of ALS.  The categories are: 1.) I’m freezing!   For those who boldly doused themselves for the cause. 2.) I’m broke.  A not-so –subtle nod to those who opted to share the cash. 3.) Proud supporter of the ALS Association.  If you were able to avoid both scenarios, but still want to help.  Become a t-shirt maker and help other make progress. 

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