I feel the need to say something about this newest Internet/Facebook sensation. I’m really quite conflicted about it. And my wife is even more so.
We have some “history” with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In early 1998, my wife’s father was diagnosed with it. It was heartbreaking to watch him decline, fairly quickly, over the next year and a bit more – he died in the summer of 1999, a wasted shell of a once-robust man. My mother-in-law never really got over it, and his absence has been a hole in my wife’s – our – family ever since. The first “Ice-Bucket Challenge” I remember seeing, just a couple weeks ago, was of my wife’s niece, who was only two years old or so when her “Poppa” died, taking up the challenge explicitly in his memory: [LINK – but I don’t know if Facebook videos will show up].
My wife’s family’s story is not unique, by any means. ALS is a devastating affliction, that seems to be on the rise for whatever reason. My wife and her siblings have supported ALS research in many different ways through the years – ALS Walk-a-Thons, fundraisers, donations, and so forth. And that support has pretty much all been channeled through the ALS Association, the organization that has been the major beneficiary of the Ice-Bucket Challenge.