What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States, and rarely Charcot disease — is a neurodegenerative disease with various causes.
ALS affects the motor nerves or neurones in the brain and spinal cord, which pass messages to the muscles telling them what to do. Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. The muscles first affected tend to be those in the hands, feet and mouth, dependending on the type of disease. Individuals with the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement.
The incidence or number of people who will develop ALS each year is about two people in every 100,000.
The prevalence or number of people living with ALS at any one time is approximately seven in every 100,000.
ALS occurs throughout the world with no obvious racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
What’s the Ice Bucket Challenge?
Beginning in the US as a means of raising awareness of debilitating diseases, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon has spread around the world in an amazingly short period of time thanks to social media.
The rules are simple – when challenged, post an unedited video of yourself putting ice into a bucket of water and pouring it over your head (or having someone or something do this for you) then nominate three others to take the challenge. Forfeit the ice bucket and make a donation of $100 to an ALS charity. Variations include making a donation in addition to doing the ice bucket and making donations to more than one charity.
Find out more about the Ice Bucket Challenge »
METHOD IT Takes the Challenge
David Arthur Kinney, Founder and Director
Daniel Harlow, Japan Country Manager