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. 

 

November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Appalachian Forum with Dr. Fran Ansley
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Circle of Love Name Distribution
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
#UKEDTALKS: International Opportunities for Education Majors
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
Chili and Pie Cook-Off Supper
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
UK Rep Bands Concert
College of Agriculture, Food & Environment 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research
Amanda Rogers, "Black Flags, ISIS 'Swag' & Jihadi Rap: Marketing Militancy after the Arab Spring"
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
Education Abroad Open House
CatWatch Party
Appalachian Forum and Film Screening of "Up the Ridge"
Tue
19
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
International Games Day
Global Design with Phil Duncan
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
International Education Week Keynote Speaker: Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education at USAID
Tobacco-free Tailgate 5 Year Anniversary
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
MEAT.
Fri
22
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
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