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Ice Bucket Challenges Raise $1.3 Million for ALS Awareness

An Arkansas man battling ALS is grateful for the social media fundraising results from the ice bucket challenge.
LITTLE ROCK, AR--The ice bucket challenge is heating up the internet and raising money for patients battling ALS, the debilitating disease referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The National ALS Association raised $1.35 million over the last 12 days and says during the same period last year, they'd raised $22,000.

Richard Blume, a Little Rock man battling the disease who wants to make sure people really know why it's important to spread the word and donations.

The sight of people dumping buckets of ice cold water on their heads raising awareness of ALS, tickles Richard Blume

"Whoever thought of this bucket of ice has got to be crazy," he says.

Blume has been battling the neurodegenerative disease for a nearly five years. The disease robs patients like Blume of their muscles, sometimes their speaking voices and even the ability to breathe on their own, leading to paralysis and ultimately death.

Blume is grateful he can still use his voice to raise awareness of the cause.

"I plan on doing the best I can and having the best attitude I can and being an example to so many other ALS patients," he says.

He helps his daughter Lara raise resources through her local organization ALS in Wonderland.

"Day to day needs are so important when an ALS patent from Arkansas contacts us and send them a check immediately," says Lara Blume McGee.

From ventilators to caretakers, she says the needs grow as time passes. The average patient lives one to five years.

Now that he's nearing five, Blume says, why not make it to seven.

"All of us ALS patients have time hopefully for long goodbyes," he says.

And if people taking the ice bucket challenge will help ALS patients battle day to day challenges, Blume says bring it on.

Right now there is no cure for ALS.

If you're looking to help Arkansans you can reach out to ALS in Wonderland or the Arkansas chapter of the ALS Association.


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