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the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Started by Pete Frates and Team Frate Train

Updated on August 13, 2014

Pete Frates Life Story Raising ALS Awareness

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

If you haven't yet checked out their Facebook Page, Team Frate Train is steaming through the country using social media to raise awareness for ALS. The hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #StrikeOutALS are everywhere as people dump a bucket of ice on their head, challenge their friends to do the same, and make a donation to the ALS foundation at the same time.

Why?

The brilliance of Pete Frates and the power of social media to make a change for the good.

Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) at the age of 27, in March of 2012.

A college baseball captain at Boston College, Frates has spent the last two years fighting ALS and raising awareness about this debilitating disease.



What is ALS?

ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that is progressive, and ultimately leads to death from respiratory failure.

Lou Gehrig had ALS, and the disease is also commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Cells in the brain are attacked by ALS, causing early symptoms such as muscle twitching, weakness in the hands or feet, or difficulty swallowing or talking.

At this time there is no real treatment for ALS and certainly no cure. The medication riluzole is the only prescribed medication for ALS, and that has shown to extend life only two to three months. ALS suffers need a cure. They need medications that will help them fight this disease.

30,000 Americans are living with ALS today, and one new patient gets diagnosed every 90 minutes.

They need a cure for ALS, and the ALS Association is fighting against ALS on all fronts. They are leading the world in research, assisting patients with ALS and working to better the lives of all people who are suffering with ALS.

Fighting for ALS and #ALSicebucketchallenge

Have you been challenged to do the ice bucket challenge?

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Who Gets ALS?

There is speculation into the cause of ALS, but without more research, the cause can only be guessed at.

What researchers and doctors know is that Gulf War veterans are twice as likely than the general population to be diagnosed with ALS. Veterans in general are diagnosed with ALS more often than non-veterans.

Heavy metal exposure might increase the risk, but this is only an educated guess.

ALS can be either sporadic or genetic, and more genes are being identified as possible causes for ALS. The problem is, a person can have the ALS mutation genes, but never get ALS while a person without any specific gene can be effected.

Men are 20% more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age than women, but men and women are diagnosed in equal numbers by the time they are in their 50's.

How You Can Help Fight Against ALS

Make a donation to the ALS Association today. Even $5 will help those that suffer from this life ending disease.

Challenge your friends to the #ALSicebucketchallenge on social media.

To challenge your friends:

Create a short video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice water on your head. State your name, and that you have been challenged to complete the ice bucket challenge. Then state the names of your friends that you are challenging. Tag them in your video. Make a $10 donation to the ALS association and become part of a global effort to #StrikeoutALS.

Was Lou Gehrig the First Person Diagnosed with ALS?

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and many people might wonder if he was the first case ever to be diagnosed.

The simple answer is no, Lou Gehrig was not the first case of ALS.

ALS has been around for much longer than when Lou Gehrig was diagnosed.

In 1869, the French physician Jean-Martin Charcot was performing autopsies and described ALS symptoms that he discovered.

Lou Gehrig was diagnosed in 1939 with ALS, and he died two short years later. His diagnosis brought ALS to national attention.


How Will Dumping Ice on My Head Cure ALS?

The #ALSicebucketchallenge has created much needed awareness for this disease. So little is known about ALS and how to stop the progression. As each new person gets diagnosed with ALS, another one dies from the disease, a sure sign that treatment is not good enough.

Dumping ice on your head is silly. It makes you do something that is out of your comfort zone. It lets your friends know that you are willing to take a step towards ending ALS. You have been challenged, and most of us are up for a challenge.

We see strength in numbers. The ALS Association has seen such tremendous support from the #ALSicebucket challenge started by Pete Frates and Team Frate Train. We all want to be part of something bigger in this world, why not a cure to end ALS?

Ethel Kennedy Challenges Obama to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Yes, I was Challenged too

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