TOPEKA (KSNT) – A social media campaign hit Topeka in a big way Wednesday – the “Ice Bucket Challenge”.
You’ve probably seen the videos, or been challenged yourself, to have a bucket of ice water dumped on your head in exchange for donating $100 to A-L-S, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, research.
Two challenges one at a local elementary school, the other at an auto dealer happened in Topeka Wednesday.
In just three weeks the ALS Association has raised more than 31-million dollars. It’s all a lot of fun, but for those who stand to benefit from the money raised, it’s no laughing matter.
“He had a rapid progression of ALS”, says Darin Wallace of his brother Kent who was diagnosed with ALS last July.
“He digressed on a daily basis,” says Darin “it was very noticeable. I was with him every day and I would notice his inability to do something he was able to do two days ago.”
ALS is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain.
Kent passed away three weeks ago, just as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” started to gain world-wide attention in social media.
Says Darin, “with ALS, there is no hope. You will never get better. Today will be the best day physically that you have in the rest of your life.”
But Wallace believes that with awareness and money, there is hope for those suffering.
“My hope is that down the road,” says Sherri Hanneman of the Keithworthington ALS Chapter in Kansas City, “we will look back at this August and we say ‘it was August of 2014 that turned the tide on ALS research, on finding therapies, on giving these folks hope.”
In the past three weeks the ALS Association has received money from more than 630,000 new donors. Every day people was well as Presidents, celebrities and pro athletes.
But the new fundraising effort is also being met with criticism, claiming it wastes water and doesn’t raise awareness.
“I’m not in that camp,” says Darin Wallace. “And I don’t believe that you’ll find any family who has had someone suffer from ALS that would be upset about ‘the gimmick’ that they call it, in order to raise awareness.”
The money donated this August is almost 16 times what they raised 1st August.
On Saturday, the ALS Association will host it’s 14th Annual “Walk to Defeat ALS” only one of only two such walks in Kansas. It begins at 8:00 a.m. at Jones Park and you can register the day of the walk.