The ALS "ice bucket challenge" has exploded in popularity with the help of social media. Thousands of videos showing people dump buckets of ice water onto themselves have been a fun way to bring much needed attention to a very serious disease – one that affects more than 30,000 Americans.
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) – more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease – is a disorder that progressively shuts down the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
The social media challenge has provided some relief to families struggling with the disease non-stop.
The Brady family from Folsom recorded their own ice bucket challenge and posted the clip online. But the challenge for them didn't end there. Barbara Brady speaks through a special communication device since she has lost most of her speech muscles. She has been battling ALS for four years and can't move her head, arms and legs.
"It's hard to watch someone you love everyday suffer through this disease," daughter Kellie Brady said.
The 61-year-old grandmother of three needs a caretaker to help with daily tasks many people take for granted.
"When she was able to walk, she would come visit once a month," said Barbara's grandson, Ryan.
The social media movement has raised awareness of the disease, with donations to ALS research skyrocketing.
Donations have already topped more than $40 million for research in hopes of finding a cure.
"When I grow up, I want to make a cure, I just want to help," Ryan said.
Eventually, Barbara will lose all speaking capabilities as breathing will become more difficult.
Until then, she'd like to get the following message across: "Hopefully the donations will continue every year until a cure is found."
To make a donation, you can go to the ALS Association website at www.ALSA.org. No ice water bucket required.