The ALS Community Challenges Canada to reignite the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

MARKHAM, ON, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ - "The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gave me back the voice that ALS was taking from me. It took my personal struggle and gave it validation and hope. We need to keep going to fund research so that one day ALS will be treatable, not terminal. I accept the passing of the bucket from co-founder Pat Quinn to unite Canadians, and challenge them to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this August and every August until we find a cure,"  Brian Parsons, living with ALS and ALS advocate.

Canadians unite. August marks the one year anniversary of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The premise of the Challenge remains intact - Canadians can dump buckets of ice and water over their heads and challenge three people do the same and donate to an ALS Society across Canada. In respect for the environment, Canadians are encouraged to either save the water or use recycled water when getting involved this year.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal neurodegenerative disease in which motor neurons or the 'living wires' that connect the muscles to the brain degenerate, robbing the person living with ALS the ability to walk, talk and eventually breathe. There is no effective treatment or cure and most people will die within two to five years. ALS is indiscriminate of age, ethnicity or sex and only 5-10% of people diagnosed will have a hereditary link.

"The funds and awareness raised from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge replaces discouragement with some reassurance that the ALS Community is not being overlooked and allows hope to sprout that a treatment or a cure is one day possible," said Brian Parsons. "That's why we have to keep doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this August and every August until a cure."

Last year Canadians donated $17 million to ALS Societies across Canada. From these donations $11.5 million was allocated to ALS research and $4.4 million to help people living with ALS across the country. Additionally Brain Canada responded to the generosity of Canadians by matching $10 million from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge funds. ALS Canada has active competitions underway which will see almost $15M invested in 2015 for grants, awards and research support as a result of the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a partnership with Brain Canada and annual fundraising initiatives. Further investments are underway for equipment and services which will provide support for people living with ALS and their families throughout Canada. This is an unprecedented investment, but a drop in the bucket compared to the need.

"We are so grateful to Brian and Pat and the ALS Community for their challenge of 'Every August until a cure' and bringing forward the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge into 2015," states Tammy Moore, CEO ALS Canada. "The financial burden of $150,000 - $250,000 is massive for families and the ALS Societies across Canada do much to provide support for the 2500 to 3000 Canadians through the provision of equipment and support services for people coping with the disease. Approximately one thousand people in Canada will be diagnosed this year and the same number will die. We need research to change this reality. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may help to change the future."

Canada, consider yourself Challenged.

The public can donate to ALS Societies across Canada at alsicebucketchallenge.ca.

See video
See logo (ALS IBC logo)

About ALS
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a neurodegenerative disease whereby the cells that control voluntary muscles die thereby leading to paralysis. The 'living wires' (motor neurons) which connect a person's brain to their muscle function gradually degenerate, leading to loss of mobility, changes to or complete loss of speech and eventually takes away the patient's ability to eat, swallow and breathe. ALS is a terminal disease that has no cure or effective treatment. ALS is indiscriminate - any age, ethnicity or sex can be affected with only five to ten percent of people affected having  a hereditary link. There are approximately 2,500-3,000 Canadians living with ALS. It is estimated that on an annual basis 1,000 Canadians will die of ALS and another 1,000 will be diagnosed. The average lifespan is two to five years but in cases of rapid progression death can come in the matter of a few months.

About ALS Societies of Canada
The ALS Societies across Canada are nine independent charities, working collaboratively in their respective provinces to provide programs and services to Canadians living with ALS, to fund research and to increase awareness of the disease. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations made in Canada will help Canadians living with ALS and support research administered through the ALS Canada Research Program.

About ALS Canada Research Program
ALS Canada is the national organization responsible for the ALS Canada Research Program – funding peer-reviewed research grants and fostering collaboration amongst Canadian researchers, helping to nurture new ideas and build capacity.

SOURCE ALS Canada

Video with caption: "“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gave me back the voice that ALS was taking from me. It took my personal struggle and gave it validation and hope. I accept the passing of the bucket from co-founder Pat Quinn to unite Canadians, and challenge them to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this August and every August until we find a cure,” Brian Parsons, living with ALS and ALS advocate.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150731_C6051_VIDEO_EN_466022.mp4&posterurl=http%3a%2f%2fphotos.newswire.ca%2fimages%2f20150731_C6051_PHOTO_EN_466022.jpg&order=1&jdd=20150731&cnum=C6051

Image with caption: "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (CNW Group/ALS Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150731_C6051_PHOTO_EN_465993.jpg

For further information: Rebecca Grima, Director Marketing and Communications, ALS Society of Canada, rg@als.ca, 905.248.2052 x234

RELATED LINKS
www.als.ca

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