The Ice Bucket Challenge

For my mother...

I was challenged by Dave and Kleynia McKnight and also Emily Kilgore. In turn, I challenge Joe Brey, Mike Fasulka, Alison Kasper, and my brother Michael. A big thanks to my dad for taking the video on my phone and to my husband Justin for helping me with the bucket of ice water. We will be donating to the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) foundations. It was important for me to do this in order to raise awareness for all of the neurological diseases there are. My mother was diagnosed with MS back in 1997 and fought a long battle for 16 years until succumbing to the illness and passing away this past December. It was heart breaking for my family to see my mother go through this for 16 years and then for her life to end like that was the hardest experience I've ever been through. So I dedicate this challenge to you mom for the uphill challenges you faced everyday. I love  you.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), Charcot disease, and, in the United States, Lou Gehrig's disease—is a neurodegenerative disease with various causes. It is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, difficulty in speaking (dysarthria), swallowing (dysphagia), and breathing (dyspnea). ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases. There is no known cure for ALS.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. People with MS say they have unusual sensations such as pins and needles, numbness, itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains. Bladder problems, trouble walking, fuzziness when thinking, dizziness, fatigue, muscle spasms, speech trouble, tremors, and vision problems can also occur. The cause of MS is still unknown- scientists believe the disease is triggered by as-yet-unindentified environment facotr(s) in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond. There is no known cure for MS

The doctors said my mother had one of the worst cases of MS they had ever seen. She declined quickly and then platued to a point where she was could not longer walk and eventually lost use of her arms as well. Each year I could see something fading away with her. It was always subtle, but there. She  was able to grab a hold of a sipping cup to drink water through a straw, then she could no longer reach over to the cup, then she could no longer hold the cup at all, then she no longer had any control over her arms period. She was completely bed ridden and was only able to get out of bed with the use of a lift, and when she did get into a chair, she could only stay out for an hour or two at the most. She was a fighter though. I've never seen anyone with a stronger will power than her. She wanted to be there on my wedding day 3 years ago and she found an inner strength to make it happen. My family was so incredibly proud of her. If I had half the strength and will power she had then I would be good. For any family suffering with a member who has a neurological disease, I understand and know the difficulties you've gone through and the difficulties that lay ahead. I am happy to see the awareness being raised to these diseases and hope one day a cure is found so no one has to ever live like this. Please take the challenge and donate. Have fun doing the ice bucket and take a moment to understand what this is all for.

The last photo I had taken with my mom in her beloved garden built for her by my dad. She did not like having her photo taken because of how she looked with the MS, but it was important for us to have these memories and I'm so thankful that we do. Even in her weakened state from the MS, she still took care of her family. What an amazing woman.

mom and me

My mom and me in younger years. Here we were about to go to a relatives wedding. This was my favorite hair style of hers. She's so beautiful and the absolute best mother I could have ever asked for.