ALS awareness heightened by ice bucket challenge

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SHERMAN, TX -- The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has swept the nation, in hopes of bringing awareness to ALS or Lou Gerig's Disease.

When you think of ALS, the recent ice bucket challenge might be the first thing that comes to mind.

This is what comes to mind for Gina Jones. She lost her father and two sisters to the disease.

"It's a cruel disease because you have all of your mind and your faculties, and you watch your body deteriorate," Jones said. "So as a caregiver, it's very difficult because there isn't much you can do."

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the cells in the spinal cord and brain, and slowly takes over the body.

"The classical form of ALS which is not associated with any dementia, your cognitive function is fully intact. The only problem is you cannot move your arms, you cannot do your daily activities, and when it gets to advanced stages, unfortunately, it affects your breathing," said Neurologist, Dr. Shahram Khalid.

Khalid says the ice bucket challenge has gotten an amazing response, and the ALS Association says in the past three weeks, they've raised more than $30 million.

"It's been tears of joy that the awareness is here and not only did it arrive, it exploded," Jones said.

While some think it's just a trend, Jones thinks it will leave a lasting impression.

"Now I have hope that when someone says 'oh how did your dad pass, oh how did your sister pass,' I can say ALS, and they'll say Oh yeah, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the awareness of it," Jones noted.

Jones says you don't have to be challenged to participate.

Our team at News12 want to challenge our viewers to educate themselves on ALS or make a donation to the ALSA.

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