You have no doubt seen a video of a friend on Facebook being doused with buckets of ice water. What would possess a human being to do something so chilling? It is the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a devastating, progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal and has no cure.
Here is how Ice Bucket Challenge works. People video themselves getting doused with ice water then share that video on social media. They challenge others to do the same in the next 24 hours. If anyone rejects the challenge they are encouraged to give $100 to an ALS charity.
Bringing money and awareness to ALS is a noble goal indeed. The Ice Bucket Challenge seems like a silly stunt, but it is working. It has gone viral, and money is pouring in to ALS charities. Celebrities, politicians, and everyday people are getting cold and wet to help those with this devastating disease
But not all ALS charities are the same.
For example the ALS Association reported that that last year they gave $500,000 to Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS), the largest association of ALS clinical researchers in the world. Likely, the ALS Association will give more to NEALS this year with the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge.
NEALS helps run clinical trials for ALS. On their website, they say that a “NEALS-affliated” trial is one where the “sponsor of the trial has contracted NEALS Coordinating Centers to help conduct the trial. A sponsor may contract NEALS to manage an entire trial or just a portion of the work.”
I found a NEALS-affliated active trial on their website that clearly states it uses stem cells that originated from an electively aborted fetus. The trial is being funded by NeuralStem Inc. and the description states:
These stem cells have been engineered from the spinal cord of a single fetus electively aborted after eight weeks of gestation. The tissue was obtained with the mother’s consent.
Of course the fetus, from whom the “tissue” was taken, did not “give consent.”
So if you give to the ALS Association your money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted fetal cells. Even if the money is not directly going to facilitate such research, it will be going to organizations that see no problem in using aborted innocents as biological material for medical use. That legitimizes and encourages the practice which is unacceptable in my estimation.
So who can you give your Ice Bucket Challenge money to? I know of one charity that is not focused on funding the research, but on making the lives of those with ALS better through technology and on raising awareness for the disease. Team Gleason, founded by former NFL player and ALS patient, Steve Gleason, has the following mission:
• Help provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with leading edge technology, equipment and services.
• Create a global conversation about ALS to ultimately find solutions and an end to the disease.
• Raise public awareness toward ALS by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.
No one is ever certain where every penny of their charity dollars go, but I think Team Gleason is a better choice, just in case you are challenged and an ice bath is not for you!