ALS & Ice Buckets

By Sara Townley –

I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to write about the two teams that I could be characterized as “a diehard fan” of in the same article, but here is my chance and what makes this opportunity even better – it’s all for a great cause.

As a fan of the Dallas Stars, the recent explosion on social media of the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness has kept me glued to my computer and smart phone for days on end. Impatiently waiting to see how the next Star will top the last and who he will challenge next, I scroll through the videos on YouTube and smile. I realize that there are many sports teams and organizations that have begun to take part in their own way in this movement, but you have to be proud at the outburst of support for the cause that the Dallas Stars organization as a whole has made during the last couple of weeks. To top it all off, in addition to the numerous challenges completed and awareness raised, the Dallas Stars have made a donation of $20,000 to ALS research. When I first heard this news, I was speechless. Although I do not currently have a personal connection to anyone with ALS, I have been following this cause for some time now and my inspiration for doing so seems like a close friend due to his passion for life and willingness to continue on doing the right thing day in and day out without allowing anything, especially ALS, stand in his way. The fact that he is sharing his personal journey enduring ALS with the world means you just can’t help feeling like you have a heartfelt connection with someone so determined, so down to Earth, who is just plain amazing.

Take a moment and Google this name: Steve Gleason. If you have never heard of this man, you’re missing out on someone incredible with a life story worth believing in. Listening to Steve speak about his experiences, reading his posts on Twitter, and seeing the impact he has on others brings tears to my eyes; there’s not a Saints fan or New Orleanian out there that wouldn’t say the same. I love my New Orleans Saints and that’s how I was first introduced to Team Gleason, which is Steve Gleason’s program for ALS awareness that was started after his diagnosis. It is so inspiring watching all that this man is accomplishing in his life despite the struggles he faces each day. Really, it is humbling and puts “normal” life into perspective. Steve reminds me along with thousands of others to be grateful everyday for what we have and inspires me to help others in any way I know how. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about ALS beforehand, but now that I have discovered more about it, not only does it scare me to know how many people it affects, but it makes me want to do my part in finding a cure for it. That brings me to the point of my writing this – what all this Ice Bucket Challenging has meant to me.

We have all seen the videos, the coverage on TV, and heard about all of the celebrities that have taken a part in this movement and now even some of our friends and neighbors are being challenged. What warms my heart is how this has brought teams from all over the place together as one all for the same cause. I love seeing all of the athletes out there beginning their Ice Bucket Challenge videos with “I’m doing this for Team Gleason,” and seeing tweets that say “For every retweet this gets, I’ll donate $1 to ALS awareness.” I love scrolling through my news feed and seeing all the boys in Black & Gold invested in the same cause as those in Victory Green.

Although we have a grand fellow by the name of Patrick Quinn and his dear friend Pete Frates to thank for the start of the Ice Bucket Challenge, I suppose we have many more to thank for their participation in the program he so wisely implemented. I do believe that we can consider his project a success, but far from being completed. I hope to see it continue for many more weeks to come in order to spread awareness to even further corners of the country. I know it is a bit of stretch, but somewhere down the line of challengers and those who are and were challenged, there are paths being crossed by both my teams, the Dallas Stars and the New Orleans Saints. Knowing this makes me swell with pride as a fan, because it shows what great people the athletes I root for are. It doesn’t mean much coming from me, but I genuinely appreciate everything each of these organizations has done in supporting this cause by completely immersing themselves into all the challenges and participating whole-heartedly.

And to you, Steve, if ever you read this, know that you have inspired me and will continue to do so everyday. I will do my part in supporting your cause, because I can see the importance in it. Please keep doing all that you do, not that you needed anyone to advise you of that, because even if you don’t realize it, you bring hope to all who are introduced to you. Your cause has become close to my heart just by seeing your enthusiasm for living and overcoming all odds. You are outstanding. No White Flags.

So with all of that being said, I challenge you to help spread awareness for ALS and take moment to think about all of the boundaries this Ice Bucket Challenge movement has crossed, how many rival teams now share in the same interest, and what you can do to help.

 

Link to the ALS Association – http://alsa.pub30.convio.net

Link to Team Gleason website – http://www.teamgleason.org/donate/
@TexSR_Sara
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