KC Cares: ALS Association

Each month we highlight a local charity that shows off the best of KC kindness. Maybe you’ll donate to a good cause?  You should donate to a good cause.

Jennifer Beckerman With Tara Dhakahl, Als Staff Member At A Night Of Hope 2018

Raising money for a great cause. // Photo courtesy of ALS

Remember back in 2014 when your friends challenged you to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over your head, and then you challenged others to join in the fun? I am sure you can picture it now, being super awkward and asking a family member or coworker to film you, stumbling over your words because you have no idea why you are doing this and then regretting wearing a tight, white t-shirt. Don’t worry, you were not alone. More than 17 million people around the world participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which raised over $200 million for ALS disease research and awareness. Oh wait, did you forget you were supposed to donate to a charity after you did it? Jerk.

Even though a significant amount of money was raised, there is still no cure for ALS. I know what you are asking me: “Lady, you keep saying ALS and I have no idea what you are talking about.”

ALS is short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famous New York Yankee who was diagnosed in 1939. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, causing your neurons to break down and die. When this happens, your brain is no longer able to send messages to your muscles. Remember the Schoolhouse Rock short “Telegraph Line”? You can YouTube it now. I’ll wait. When your brain can’t send messages, your muscles begin to atrophy. Over time, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

The ALS Association leads the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy—giving help and hope to those facing the disease. The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy, while also empowering people with the disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.

I was one of the aforementioned “jerks” above who enjoyed watching my friends and family participate in this challenge but didn’t pour ice water over my head or donate to the cause. Shame on me. However, since then one of my best friends has joined the ALS Association, and I have had the honor of volunteering at their annual gala, A Night of Hope (March 6), and their Walk to Defeat ALS (October TBD).

Maybe swanky events with dinner and cocktails don’t suit you, or maybe a brisk walk to raise awareness for a terrible disease isn’t your cup of tea. You can still give your support thanks to the invention of the internet. You can head to alsa-midamerica.org/donate. A donation of just $25 can provide an ALS patient with an LCD tablet, allowing them to communicate with others. Don’t be a jerk like me. Donate to our local Mid-America chapter and let’s help find a cure.

You can still get a friend to drench you if you feel like that’s an important part of the process. No one is stopping you. 

ALS Association



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