Recently IVC staff were nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and we accepted! Ten of our staff lined up and received an ice cold shower from a bucket. And we loved it. We all have gladly pitched in to send donations to the ALS Association.

By now you have at least seen half of your friends and family dump ice water on their heads to raise awareness and money to support research to battle this terminal and debilitating disease. So, what is ALS?

ALS, or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects around 30,000 Americans. It affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons send signals from the brain to the spine and from the spine to muscles. As the disease progresses the motor neurons degenerate and signals can no longer be sent to muscles. The muscles start to atrophy or become smaller, which can eventually lead to paralysis. Early symptoms are muscle weakness that affects arms and legs, speech, breathing and swallowing. The average survival time from onset is around 40 months. Currently there is no known cure for ALS. There is only one approved medication to treat ALS that only increases survival time by several months. There is still much to learn about ALS and its cause, so funding for research is important.

If you would like to more information or to help the ALS Association with a donation visit http://www.alsa.org/.