Nick with Pop-pop and Grandma Lita ~ Nov 2007
It was about 10 years ago when our family first heard that my hubby’s dad had ALS. We didn’t have a clue what it was. We didn’t know that this was basically a death sentence. We didn’t know he would probably only live 3-5 years on average after diagnosis. We didn’t know that all the muscles in his body would slowly shut down. We didn’t know that his mind would be clear as a bell trapped in a body that didn’t function. But we started reading about it. My hubby doesn’t cry, but as we read about his father’s diagnosis, I saw something I’ve only seen my hubby do once since we’ve been together; he sobbed.
Pop-pop (That’s what we all called him) died with dignity and grace. He continued to make an effort, when he could, to participate in his grand-kids’ lives. He came to plays and sports events if it meant seeing his family in action. He told the kids jokes, even though he was uncomfortable physically. He showed the family what humility looks like. And most of all his faith in God was strong until the very end.
One reaction our family had (especially my hubby and his brother) was a sense of mortality. They say ALS is not hereditary, but really they don’t know what causes it. The guys had fear. They worried, “Can this happen to us?” We still don’t know what caused pop-pop to have ALS. No one does. But wouldn’t it be grand if they figured it out. Right now I have hope with the way things are going for the ALS association.
Recently, ALS is all over social media. I can’t even explain how awesome this is. This Ice Bucket Challenge is a game changer. Last year ALS was unknown to most and they only raised 1.2 Million. This year everyone is talking about ALS and they have raised (as of today) 41.8 Million. This is mind boggling. So our family took the Ice Bucket Challenge:
As a person who has seen ALS up close at a time when people’s most common reaction was, “What is ALS?” this is great. What troubles me are the wet blankets at the “party”. Why is it when anything good is happening, there are always people that have to put a damper on it. I see posts about people being upset about “wasted” water. As a drought savvy Californian, which all Californians should be, we took precautions to account for that. We did our challenge over our dying lawn and I chose to skip my next shower. We even used water that was going to go to the lawn anyway (not potable water). If people weren’t water thoughtful while making the video, they probably aren’t drought thoughtful in their life in general (although that’s an assumption).
I don’t care if you don’t accept the challenge. A challenge is something you can accept or decline. I have no ill feelings towards those who choose to decline. People have all kinds of reasons why this is not something they are going to do. This doesn’t upset me. What is upsetting is when people start making up lame excuses and accusations to make them feel better about not doing it. It really is an awesome movement and there really isn’t a good reason to be a negative wet blanket. So stop it!
If you do take the challenge you are in good company. Many famous and not so famous people (Including George W Bush, Oprah, Bill Gates, Jimmy Fallon…and hundreds more) are taking the challenge all over Social Media. If you can’t afford a donation, that’s ok. If you don’t have time for the Ice Bucket Challenge, that’s ok. But please, remember ALS and don’t be a wet blanket.