Viral Video Challenge Raises Awareness of ALS

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 News) – A viral challenge crossing Facebook is raising awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. And local families affected by the disease say they approve of the “Ice Bucket Challenge”.

It’s a viral sensation sweeping the nation. Even some of us here at 18 News have gotten in on the action. And it’s all to bring awareness to a relatively unknown disease: ALS.

“I think it’s wonderful news,” said Killeen McCarthy, whose husband, Brendan, has ALS. “When we were first diagnosed, I remember Brendan and I looking at each other and ALS is so unheard of, it's so rare that neither one of us knew the full magnitude of what this diagnosis means."

The videos have raised $1.35 million dollars since the end of July, when the challenge was started by a former Boston College baseball player who has ALS. Over the same time period last year, the ALS Association raised $22,000.

Brendan McCarthy is a former Horseheads teacher who has the neurological disease. On the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, he says, “We are overwhelmed by the love and support we have received throughout this journey, including most recently the ice bucket challenge to support ALS. It has been extremely inspirational to see friends and family across the U.S. accept this challenge. It's a great way to bring awareness to this disease in a fun and entertaining way. I am in awe of the participants that brave the goose bumps and brain freeze, and seeing the, "oh that's cold" expression on their face is priceless. The countless videos I've seen on the social media sites are unique and hilarious; each gives me strength to keep fighting. I want to give a warm heartfelt thank you to those that have supported ALS through the ice bucket challenge, along with a warm blanket. Together I'm confident that a cure will be discovered.”

“And I think that now, with the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, people are becoming aware of it and what it truly means for anyone diagnosed with it,” said Killeen.

To donate to the ALS Association, you can click on this link.

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