A Trend To Be A Part Of
I know that the ice bucket challenge is currently a hot topic with celebrities and “regular people” alike accepting the dare to dump a bucket of ice water over their head on video then post the video to social media. They then nominate others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. People can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS charity of their choice, or do both. The challenge has become pretty much a phenomenon with over $90 million raised to date for ALS.
For those who don’t know what ALS is, here’s an overview from the ALSA.org website:
“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease,’ is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”
Though it is awful to read what can happen to a person struck with ALS, it is heart wrenching to see someone struggle with the disease. A friend of mine directed me to http://www.upworthy.com/the-last-ice-bucket-challenge-you-need-to-see-and-you-really-should-see-it. The narrator emotionally explains how ALS affects a person and his or her loved ones. It’s a compelling four minutes or so of video and I urge you to sit down and watch it.
I overheard someone say that the challenge is “just a trend.” To that I ask: So?
Anything that can raise awareness of a disease like the ice bucket challenge has done for ALS deserves support.
I am co-chair of the American Cancer Society’s Foothills Relay for Life next spring and understand how hard it is to get people involved. And this is for cancer, a disease that has touched almost everyone in one way or another. Cancer gets a lot of media attention through various walks (Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Revlon Run/Walk for Women, Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure to name a few). That ALS, which is dramatically underfunded, has millions of new dollars coming in is exciting.
My son Andrew has already completed the challenge and has challenged me to take it on. I wholeheartedly accept and will post my ice dump on the CV Weekly website.
When people gather together to share a common goal, it creates a community. Sometimes these communities are pulled together for a brief time and other times they last a lifetime. And sometimes they just need a little kickstart to become re-energized.
Last Saturday, our La Crescenta neighborhood got a kickstart in the form of a block party.
I’m very lucky in that I live on a great cul-de-sac, promoted by many realtors as “the best street in La Crescenta.” Steve and I bought back in 1990 and over the years we have grown our family in that house, held celebrations and mourned losses there. In the ’90s, there were more than two-dozen children in the neighborhood, which naturally drew neighbors together. But after the kids grew up, the neighborhood lost some of its over-the-fence friendliness. Not that the people weren’t friendly; it was that there was less opportunity to spend a few minutes chatting with each other. Over the last couple of years, young families have moved into the neighborhood and a block party seemed in order.
All but two of the houses in the cul-de-sac took part in the block party (I believe the owners were out of town). We rolled out a big barbecue so people could cook – and share – meals while swapping stories and introducing themselves to each other.
It was a wonderful time and now our street can live up to its reputation as “the best street in La Crescenta.”