Eli Capilouto

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Published: Aug 22, 2014

 

Over the last few weeks, the social media world has been rapt with the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to support research and treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS – also commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” While it is easy to enjoy watching celebrities, former Presidents and your friends and family succumb to an ice cold deluge of water, it is important to consider what the viral buzz has yielded for the ALS Association and what researchers, health providers and care givers are doing to combat this insidious illness.

 

This week, the ALS Association reported record increases in their fundraising from existing donors and more than 637,000 new donors – many who were likely encouraged by the Ice Bucket Challenge. The additional contributors have yielded more than $31 million to the ALS Association – several times more than the $1.9 million received this time last year.

 

On Monday, I was challenged by my colleague at Eastern Kentucky University – President Michael Benson – to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge. In accepting his challenge and others, I challenged and was joined by faculty and staff that represent the University of Kentucky’s ALS Research Center for our big blue ice bath.

 

 

The Kentucky Neuroscience Institute is home to the only ALSA Certified Center in Kentucky and the only one between Atlanta and Indianapolis. The certification signals that our team employs the best practices to provide access to the state-of-the-art care for patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

Led by Dr. Edward Kasarskis, UK’s team of researchers is at the leading-edge of ALS research. In partnership with our affiliate at the VA Medical Center, we have maintained a commitment to improving outcomes for ALS patients since the 1980s. Many collaborators, expert faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows have studied ALS mortality in Kentucky; participated in formulating the World Federation of Neurology criteria for diagnosing ALS; and contributed to the identification of genetic causes of the disease. For the last ten years, they have led a multicenter study of nutrition requirements for ALS patients.

 

In 2003, Dr. Kasarskis’ team played a pivotal role in identifying military service as a risk factor for developing ALS in veterans of the first war in the Persian Gulf. Their work became one of the foundational studies making ALS a “service connected” disability in the VA system.

 

Our mission and vision calls upon us to answer the relevant questions of our day and pose the unasked questions that help shape our future. ALS afflicts some 5,600 additional people across the United States every year. The chronic, unbiased disease impacts some 30,000 at any given time, according to the ALS Association.

 

Across UK’s research enterprise, we are addressing questions related to ALS and other chronic illnesses that plague the people we serve. The research trials we conduct each day are part of our effort to find local solutions that can have national implications. Research makes the difference in the lives of millions, but significant research needs people in order to evolve and improve health care.

 

UK’s Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences’ ResearchMatch database is part of a national resource developed to pair research volunteers with world-class researchers. Participation is a way to learn more about your own health and be a part of pioneering new solutions to the seemingly intractable problems we face. Matching volunteers to researchers is key to breaking new barriers in discovery and UK’s ResearchMatch is a pathway to get involved.

 

This is why a multi-disciplinary, broadly supported and sophisticated research enterprise is not only essential for the University, but a fundamental component of a healthier and more prosperous future for Kentucky. This is the future that we pursue each day across our campus and in the communities we work with across the state.

 

As people participate in the ALS awareness and fundraising campaign, we must remember to do so safely and responsibly. Sadly, two firefighters were injured this week in Campbellsville during an organized challenge. The thoughts and prayers of the Big Blue Nation are with Fire Department Captain Tony Grider and Firefighter Simon Quinn as they recover from their injuries.

 

Columnist, Jim Murray, described legendary baseball player Lou Gherig as “a symbol of indestructibility – a Gibraltar in cleats.” The nationwide campaign that has evolved over the last few weeks is symbolic of that strength. Let us continue honoring that legacy by standing strong in support of further research and improved treatment of ALS. 

 

September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
#maxfest (Ukirklex Campus Ministry)
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Working Moms Connection
Job Club - Job Search Strategies for Fall
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
The Future of Islam
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
9/11 Vigil
UKNABJ presents: Ferguson, Missouri: A look at media, politics and black youth in the U.S.
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
Duo Damiana, Molly Barth and Dieter Hennings
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Chellgren Seminar Series: Buck Ryan
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Big Blue Commonwealth
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ryan Gardner Guest Trumpet Recital
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
The Case for Fossil Fuels-PEIK Seminar
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Diana Ferrus: 'Writing poetry has allowed me to live': Cultural Resistance in South Africa
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
University of Kentucky Chamber Winds
Employer Showcase
Job Club - 10 Questions to Ask Prior to Starting a Business
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
BPH Open House
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
¡Baila!
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Opening Night Bohemiam Festival
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Green Apple Day of Service: "Pick It Up"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
28
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
UK Chorale
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Apollo Duo - Flute and Percussion Guest Recital
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 17
Internship Info Session 09/17/2014

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