ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Brings Awareness, Community to VCU ASPiRE Members

You open up Facebook, scroll down your newsfeed and there goes another person dumping a bucket of cold water on their head. It’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. For some, the videos can get a little repetitive; but for others, the video sends a meaningful message.  

In case you haven’t looked it up yet, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or 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, according to the ALS Association page. 

“At first I thought the videos were kind of silly," said sophomore Elle Buck, who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge with her fellow ASPiRE members. “But then I saw a video of someone with ALS doing the challenge and saying all these statistics about it which made me look at it in a different way.”

ASPiRE directors Dr. Mary Slade, Dr. Michael Rackett and Ms. Nerice Lochansky nominated Buck, along with the rest of the ASPiRE team. Watch the video on Facebook here.

“We wanted to bring together a community by challenging other organizations on campus, as well,” said Dr. Slade.

Those organizations nominated include VCU Honors College, VCU Globe and the VCU Residential Life and Housing.

According to Dr. Slade, one-third of the members from ASPiRE are pre-health and they have made it a mission in the program to raise awareness of all the lesser-known diseases.

“Even though not many people in ASPiRE knew about ALS, we still did the challenge because it was a way to help,” said junior Shayla Sanders, a member from ASPiRE.

According to the ALS Association page, The ALS Ice bucket challenge has not only brought awareness, but also triggered 453,201 new donors to The Association. As of Aug. 19, the ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 millions during the same time last year.