An internet challenge has gone viral, but unlike other challenges this one carries an important message.
Captain Jessie Gonzalez says it's done as a show of support, "ALS is something that needs all the support that it can get."
Beyond the cold water and challenges, ALS is a debilitating disease that leads to paralysis. It's something Associate Professor of TAMIU Dr. Paul Niemeyer had to deal with on a personal basis. Dr. Niemeyer explains, "Seeing that happen to a loved one is absolutely devastating."
His mother battled ALS for two years before passing away. Dr. Niemeyer says she slowly lost her ability to move. "Basically everything ended up dying away, while her mind, of course, stayed intact."
Through the bucket challenge, people are either donating money to the association, dumping ice water on their head, or both. But, seeing the devastation first-hand, Dr. Niemeyer says patients often require financial help."Eventually you need a wheelchair, and a special bed that they can get out of. I was watching my parents' house turn, basically, into an extension of a hospital ward."
For those who do donate to the Texas ALS Chapter, Marc Contreras, the Laredo area Coordinator for the ALS Association, explains how the funds are used. "We use the money for research, but we also use the money for things like durable medical equipment, communication devices, speech pathology. We use it for many things."
So while it may seem like fun and games, people affected by ALS hope you look beyond to help those in need. Dr. Niemeyer agrees saying, "You can dump a bucket of water on your head. That's fine, but pay some money. They definitely do need the money."
We took the challenge here at KGNS, and now we are issuing the challenge to County Judge Elect Tano Tijerina.
The Sheriff's Department also issued their challenge to Constable Mike Villarreal in Pct. 2 and his office, Constable Harold Devally and his office, and the Dept. of Public Safety.
If you would like to donate to the cause, visit defeatalslaredotx.com. There you can find a link to donate.