McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley has experienced the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon that’s spreading ALS awareness across the country.
“I’m taking the challenge,” said Haley on Tuesday night just prior to adjourning the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. “I have been challenged by Dave Wideman. Actually, he challenged this entire board. I have my bucket of ice ready and immediately after this meeting, if you want to join me on the sidewalk, I will complete the challenge and help raise awareness for ALS.”
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 the person’s death.
The cause of ALS is not completely understood. However, recent years have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding the physiology of the disease.
While there is not a cure or treatment today that halts or reverses ALS, there is one FDA approved drug, riluzole, which modestly slows the progression of ALS as well as several other drugs in clinical trials that hold promise.
According to the ALS Association website, over the last four weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has spread across the nation. Between July 29 and Aug. 12, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received $4 million in donations compared to $1.12 million during the same period last year.
Rules of Ice Bucket Challenge: Those who have been challenged by others who took the challenge have two options. The first is to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over their head, which is usually video recorded. The other is to donate $100 to an ALS charity.
While Vice Mayor Ben Newman said he was already challenged and he decided to make a donation to an ALS Association rather than endure an ice bucket bath, other members of the board did not comment on which option they will choose.