A Daring Initiative to Strike Out ALS
A bold viral video campaign is dominating social media feeds all across America in an ongoing effort to find a cure for ALS, a debilitating and deadly neurological disease. In less than a month, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $42 million in donations to The ALS Association, as well as additional funds for other ALS-related organizations.
The initiative set off a sensational chain reaction that continues to snowball, as each person who accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge must then nominate someone else to participate. Current reports estimate that nearly 2.5 million people have doused themselves with a bucket of ice water and posted the video online — and the numbers continue to climb. If a person chooses to decline the Ice Bucket Challenge, he or she is required to give money to an ALS charity instead. In many cases, as evidenced by the surge of donations, people are doing both.
ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, causes a progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that are essential for initiating muscle movement. As the disease advances, the affected motor neurons increasingly deteriorate and die, resulting in a permanent loss of voluntary muscle control and function. Over time, ALS triggers muscular atrophy and total paralysis, which ultimately inhibits the ability to breathe and leads to death.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been previously connected to other causes, but a philanthropic phenomenon was launched when 29-year-old Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player living with ALS, helped the movement go viral. Accompanied by the hashtags #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #StrikeOutALS and #QuinnForTheWin, Pete posted a video on his Facebook page using the song “Ice Ice Baby” as a call to action. The inspirational response that followed began in the Boston area and then quickly spread across the internet like wildfire.
Since his diagnosis in March 2012, Pete has lost the abilities to walk, speak and swallow. He requires a full-time nurse, and he must eat through a feeding tube. Although Pete is hindered physically, his mental capabilities are as strong as ever. Additionally, he is due to be a father in early September.
Civil turmoil continues to rage in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a six-year veteran of the police force. While the investigation remains ongoing, the results of an independent autopsy on Brown revealed that he was shot six times. The incident has sparked a fury of protests, ranging from peaceful demonstrations to violent riots.
Losing to Win
Meet the Rose family — Gabi, David, and their children Josh, Rachel, Noah and Sarah — who lost a combined 300 pounds to transform their bodies … and their health. Hear how simple lifestyle changes helped them shed excess weight and reverse the negative effects that their previous unhealthy habits had caused.
“I just had to put my foot down,” Gabi says. “I realized one day when I was at the grocery store, ‘Who’s in control? I am!’”
Better Your Barbecue
Fire up the grill! The Doctors and Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief of Reader’s Digest magazine, share heart-healthy tips so you can have your burger, and eat it too:
• Marinate your meat! Cooking meat at high temperatures creates compounds called AGEs, which increase inflammation and the risk of diabetes. Marinate meat in lemon juice or vinegar and cook at low temperatures to minimize the development of these carcinogens.
• Add oats to your patties! High-fat meals can lead to constricting arteries. By adding oats to your meal, you can reduce the fat absorption into the body.
• Eat avocado! This heart-boosting secret ingredient not only tastes good, but it helps reduce the harmful effects of a fatty meal on your arteries.
• Sip red wine sangria! Beat the heat and boost your heart health with a glass of this refreshing cocktail!