Terminally ill woman holds party before ending her life

In early July, Betsy Davis emailed her closest friends and relatives to invite them to a two-day party, telling them: “These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness.”

And just one rule: No crying in front of her.

The 41-year-old artist with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, held the gathering to say goodbye before becoming one of the first Californians to take a lethal dose of drugs under the state’s new doctor-assisted suicide law for the terminally ill. (More Information)

1 year later, the Ice Bucket Challenge funds this breakthrough in ALS research.

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Of course you do. It was that viral video campaign that took off last summer where you’d log into Facebook and see a steady stream of your friends dumping water on themselves in the name of awareness and research for the ALS Association.

Some brushed the movement off as an example of “slacktivism,” but it actually helped raise more than $100 million. When you compare it to the $2.8 million raised by the organization during the same period a year earlier, it’s clear that the Ice Bucket challenge paid off.

ALS, also known as amyotrophic laterals sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, affects an estimated 30,000 living peopleat any given time. It’s a disorder that affects nerve and muscle function. Just 20% of those with the disease will live more than five years following diagnosis. It’s brutal.

But there’s good news — due, in part, to the money raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge.


ALS Ice Bucket Challenge With Zac Efron

Special double edition of #GiveBackTuesday! Thanks @shenaegrimesbeech and @vanessahudgens for the nomination! I donated to ALSA.org and took the #icebucketchallenge. I also nominated @zacefron, he donated to ALSA.org and took the #icebucketchallenge too! Watch the whole video above, and don’t forget to spread the word and nominate your friends :)


Elvis Presley- his interest in music started early

Angelina Jolie as a little girl with her mother

Charlie Chaplin without the iconic hat sitting with a dog

Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing for some elderly ladies.

Just a worker in a Van Nuys, California, factory in 1944 who will soon start to call herself Marilyn Monroe

Robin Williams hilariously dressed up as a cheerleader

Ernest Hemingway’s passport photo

Katherine Hepburn sitting in a bathtub after the great storm of 1938

Albert Einstein in fuzzy slippers. He’s awesome

Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris

Behind the scenes of a photo shoot with Marilyn Monroe working out in a terry cloth bikini

Brigitte Bardot and Pablo Picasso

Charlie Chaplin without make up

A 19 year old Cher

Frank Sinatra getting Lou Gerhig’s autograph

Al Pacino and Diane Keaton on the set of The Godfather


Benedict Cumberbatch’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - BRILLIANT!

Remember the ice bucket challenge? It just funded an ALS breakthrough

Originally posted by huffingtonpost

The ALS Association says money raised by viral charity challenge, dismissed as ‘slacktivism’ by many, has helped identify a new gene associated with the disease

It is often easy to dismiss viral charity campaigns as “slacktivism”, which lacks in real-world impact (we never did catch the warlord Joseph Kony, after all) but a breakthrough discovery bankrolled by 2014’s ALS ice bucket challenge may give the lie to that cynicism.

The ice bucket challenge was a phenomenon in the summer of 2014 in which people dunked a bucket of iced water over their heads in order to solicit donations before nominating others to do the same.

The campaign raised more than $100m in a 30-day period, and was able to fully fund a number of research projects. One of these was Project MinE, a large data-driven initiative funded by the ALS Association through ice bucket challenge donations, as well as donations from the organization’s Georgia and New York chapters. The project’s researchers announced on Monday that they have identified a new gene associated with the disease, which experts say could lead to new treatment possibilities.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurological disorder in which the motor neurons that control muscle function slowly die. The disease can be either sporadic or inherited, and in either case there is currently no cure.

“It’s very exciting because it shows everyone who contributed to the ice bucket challenge that their donation had an impact on the research,” said Brian Frederick, executive vice-president of communications and development at the ALS Association. The newly discovered gene, NEK1, is only associated with 3% of ALS cases, but it is present in both inherited and sporadic forms of the disease, which researchers say gives them a new target for the development of possible treatments. Project MinE has been working to sequence the genomes of 15,000 people with the disease, and the discovery, which was described in a paper published on Monday in the journal Nature Genetics, involved more than 80 researchers in 11 countries.

The discovery was significant, Frederick said, “because it helps us understand what’s triggering this and can help us better find a treatment,” though he added that “it’s still very early in our understanding of this particular gene, and we still have a ways to go with understanding ALS generally.”

Scientists say money from ALS Ice Bucket Challenge led to new gene discovery
Scientists hope discovery will provide another potential target for therapy development

The Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral two years ago, raising hundreds of millions of dollars, has helped identify a new gene behind the neurodegenerative disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, researchers say.

The challenge involved people pouring ice-cold water over their heads, posting video on social media, and donating funds for research on the condition, whose sufferers include British physicist Stephen Hawking.

Millions of people worldwide took part in the challenge in 2014, attracting more than 400 million views on social media.

The challenge raised $220 million US worldwide, according to the Washington-based ALS Association.

News of the gene discovery again sent Ice Bucket Challenge viral, proving one of the top trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday.

The money funded the largest ever study of inherited ALS and identified a new gene, NEK1, that ranks among the most common genes that contribute to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the ALS Association said in a statement.

Continue Reading.

Lou Gehrig, the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

In 1939, the Fourth of July coincided with Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium.  A day usually reserved for parades and fireworks was transformed into one of the most solemn, heart-wrenching, and inspiring moments in the history of sports. It was here, before 62,000 fans, that Gehrig proclaimed he was the “Luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

After a few games into the 1939 season, Gehrig’s performance had noticeably declined. On May 2, Gehrig took himself out of the lineup for the first time in 2,130 consecutive games. Unbeknownst to him, he would never play again.  

Soon after Gehrig’s streak came to an end, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease he is synonymous with to this day.  After hearing the news, the Yankee clubhouse made arrangements to honor their longtime all-star.

On July 4, 1939, the Yankees played a double header against the Washington Senators. Between the two games, players, coaches, and other notable figures came out to shower Gehrig with gifts and kind words.  The Yankees also began a new baseball tradition as they retired Gehrig’s number 4 uniform.

Gehrig almost did not speak.  As the ceremony came to an end and the microphones were being hauled away, the “Iron Horse” decided to say a few words. As Gehrig fought away tears, he made one of the most iconic speeches of all time. 

It seems appropriate that Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day fell on Independence Day. In his famous Declaration, Thomas Jefferson ascribed that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Despite his grim diagnosis and tragic decline, Gehrig embraced Jefferson’s unalienable rights. As he famously said, “I may have gotten a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

Watch the newsreel on the National Archives YouTube Channel, and read more about Gehrig’s iconic speech via Media Matters » “An Awful Lot to Live For”: Lou Gehrig’s Final Season in the News

Universal News Volume 11, Release 786, Story #5, July 5, 1939


Tom Hiddleston’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


June 2nd 1941: Lou Gehrig dies

On this day in 1941, the famous New York Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig died aged 37. Nicknamed ‘The Iron Horse’, Gehrig’s 23 Grand Slams remained the most on record until it was broken by fellow Yankees player Alex Rodriguez in 2013. The remarkable career of this exceptionally talented baseball player ended in 1939 when, after his performance had been deteriorating, Gehrig was diagnosed with a terminal neurodegenerative disease which severely limits physical mobility (often to the point of paralysis) while not affecting the brain. The disease is known by different names; in the UK it is called motor neurone disease (MND), and in the US it is  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The diagnosis led Gehrig to retire aged 36, and on a July 4th 1939 ‘Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day’ at Yankee Stadium, he gave an emotional farewell speech that has become known as ‘baseball’s Gettysburg Address’. Lou Gehrig died two years later, just before his 38th birthday. His legacy continues as one of the greatest players of all time, and in the fact that many Americans now refer to ALS/MND as 'Lou Gehrig’s Disease’. Other notable people to have this disease include Stephen Hawking, whose is an unusual case as he has lived with it for over 50 years.

“Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth…I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for”
- Lou Gehrig in his 1939 farewell speech


Matt Smith’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Why scientists are making brain cells from skin

Researchers can now make brain cells from the skin cells of patients with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to better study the fatal disease.

“We make brain cells out of the patient’s own skin,” says Jeffrey Rothstein, professor of neurology, who directs the Brain Science Institute and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University.

Read more

The National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins, the Emerald Foundation, the ALS Association, and the US Defense Department supported the work. The cell lines are freely available to all researchers from a public warehouse maintained by the Coriell Institute.


Chris Evans’ rocks the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge