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Thrive.

A few years ago my husband and I had the great opportunity to meet Dan Buettner who is a world cyclist, adventurer, researcher and author of health books The Blue Zones and Thrive.

His talk was about his research into the healthiest communities in the world.

He started out by asking the audience of 100 adults a powerful question:

“Did you walk or bike to school as a kid?” Every one of us raised our hand.

“Do your kids walk or bike to school now?” Not one person raised their hand.

That got our attention Dan!

His research was inspired by the Danish Twin Studies, among others, which established that only 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words almost 80% of how long and how well you live is up to you. 

Beginning in 2004 Dan, along with longevity geneticists, medical researchers, anthropologists, demographic scientists, epidemiologists funded by National Geographic, identified pockets of people across the world who live the longest and are the happiest.

Then they went to visit them!

They were searching for evidence-based common denominators among all places.

They termed these healthy pockets “Blue Zones.”

In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States! And they have astoundingly low incredible lower rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, those big and nasty killers in the US. Here is what else they found.

9 common traits in Blue Zone members:

1. They move naturally all day.

The world’s longest-lived people don’t just pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about.

Think: Do I really need to drive to the library or grocery store? Can I walk or ride a bike? Can I get a stand up desk? Take a walk at lunch outside? Get a dog and walk it?

2. They know their Purpose. 

The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans in Costa Rica call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy!!!

Identify what you are passionate about and pursue it as your purpose daily.

3. They take time to Down Shift.

They experience stress like we do. But they take time to relax every day. Okinawans take a few moments each day in the am to remember their ancestors, Seventh DayAdventists (Lomo Linda, CA) pray, Ikarians (Greece) take a nap and Sardinians (Italy) do happy hour with friends.

Take time to relax, meditate, and give thanks daily. We know stress leads to chronic inflammation which contributes to very major age-related disease. Why feed the monster?

4. They stop eating when they are just 80% full.
“Hara hachi bu” –Is the  Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals which reminds Okinawans to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.

Think. Do you really need that extra helping?

5. They eat a lot of beans and plants.

They have a “Plant Slant.” They eat what they grow too. Vegetables and beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the basics of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.

Start small: Double daily intake of beans and veggies.

6. They enjoy wine moderately. 

People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly with friends and/or with food. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers in these zones. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine says Dan).

If you can drink just 1 or 2, do.

7. They have a faith-based community. 

All but five of the 263 centenarians they interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy!

We need God and each other. Find a faith community and connect.

8. They put loved ones first. 

Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of elders and children).  Neighbors of all ages are also active in visiting other families and learning from elders.

Have you talked to or hugged your family lately? Checked in with your neighbor?

9. They have like-minded friends

Dan said,

“The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life.

Research from the Framingham Nurses Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.”

Connect with a healthy, caring tribe daily.

It is so interesting that 6, 7,8 and 9 are all about the power of connecting in community.

Try to apply some of these tips today and let me know how it goes.

Check out Dans new mission – Creating Blue Zones across the US! http://www.bluezones.com/live-happier/thrive-centers/

Fin! Amy

Pursue Your Passions: It May Lead to Your Mission.

“I believe each of us has a mission in life, and that one cannot truly be living their most fulfilled life until they recognize this mission and dedicate their life to pursuing it.” -Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms company and the One to One business model.

I love this quote.  Life is so short and precious. 

What is important to you? What do you want to accomplish? What drives you?  What do you love doing but are not doing?

Find out what it is and pursue it.  

Think about Tom’s founder, or Mother Theresa, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Lincoln, Einstein, Martin Luther King!  Think of all the inventors, leaders, parents, teachers, athletes, career changers, missionaries and others who found out what they wanted to do, went after it and changed their lives…and our lives. Imagine where we all would be if they had ignored that passionate spirit inside?

So what are you passionate about? What do you want to change in your life? Your career?

Don’t know?

Start small.

First, find out what you need just to thrive.

Years ago in my early twenties I was at a cross roads. My dad had died, I was questioning my career choice (and college major), and knew a better career or job was waiting for me.  I just needed directions on how to get to it.

I turned to the book “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard M. Bolles. This is the same book my Dad turned to when he made a career change when he was 40 years old. 

I read it thoroughly and put great effort into each lesson.  It was hard work.  No career counselor could do it for me.  I had to dig deep inside to identify what made me thrive, excited and happiest when and where I was working.

I filled two yellow legal pads with my notes.  

The author encouraged me, the reader, to narrow down the discernment into one short,  vision sentence. By the book’s end, I could do this because I re-discovered what drove me, my passions, and my dream for an ideal career…the one sentence became my mission. 

  • Freedom to start or work for a great internet start-up
  • Freedom to call on whom I wanted
  • Freedom to travel
  • Freedom to connect to the outdoors.  I had to have a big window in my office!
  • Freedom to make more money

I found all this in a new career.  I was really happy.

Thank God I did this!

Who knew I would have to leave this career 3 years later when Mom got dx. with ALS?

My dad also had a similar experience after doing the work in the book. His mission in life had changed.  He left his job, pursued a new career and new life, moving our family from the Chicago suburbs to near Washington, DC where he was raised and still had family. He was really happy. He thrived.

Thank God he did this work!

Who knew he would die from Cancer by age 51? 

Maybe that is what drives me.

Life is so short friends. Why not do what you love?

Why not find out sooner rather than later? Why live with regret?

I advise people to identify their passions and strengths, then to use them to serve themselves and others in work, family, ministry, careers and the community. Knowing and honoring your passions, strengths and weaknesses is liberating, and can be a guiding light to propel you forward to do great things.

Now, look back to the quote above.  It is notable that after over 45 years of career counseling and many career books, Richard Bolles most recent book is a simple spiritual guide called “Finding Your Mission in Life.”

“Brain Gone Fishing”

“Brain Gone Fishing.”

At our meeting to change the world last May, my friend Anna, a fellow daughter of a Marine said this:

“If you need me to do anything let’s get it done right now. Otherwise, I am on mom duty all summer and won’t be able to do anything.”

I thought she was a bit serious at the time. We can do it all right?

Ha. Now its August and I know she was right. 

I adore my kiddies and they are my priority during summer. But by late August, I am ready!  Ready for school, a rhythm, and a routine….for them and me!  

All this talk about our kids brains draining over summer, what about stay at home Mommy or Daddy brains?

I crave some mental gymnastics, problems to actually solve, new ideas to chase. To knock off all the items on my To Do list. To have some time to think clearly, or read or talk in a paragraph versus a baby tweet.

It’s just not happening until those kiddies are back in school.

Yesterday I met with our carpool team to plan out our exciting 2015-2016 year of carpool when I realized the fog had set in on us all! We could not get past the first two weeks of September.

Then the other day I told my daughter to stop whining, get out of the house, or go to the pool. When I dropped her booty off at the pool, I saw two girls we knew on their iPad sitting in a corner.

“Hi girls! Have you been swimming all morning? Will you be staying longer?”  I asked them. 

Yes!” They exclaimed in unison.

Then the elder sister said, “We have been here since 11 AM! Our dad kicked us out of the house and told us not to come home until 5PM.”

My kinda guy. Get outside kids! I gotta think!

I am dreaming of running a 100 mile ultra marathon. Never mind the fact I have not trained for one. Brain gone fishing! No think. Jus’ run. 

See ya family!  It’s  “Mommy time out!” 

Lord, give me the strength, peace, and wisdom to chill out, laugh and play a little more as school starts back up. Who cares if I have brain drain, right?  I can catch up on some brain training when “we” go back to school.  

Research says, and I know from personal experience, constant interruptions, distractions whether the good or bad, can short-circuit your thoughts, dreams and actions. And give you a dash of ADD.

Oh well. Got kids.

“Brain’s Gone Fishing.” Back in September. 

“I” for Inspiration and “E” for Exuberance

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Twenty-Five.” I need these 2 vowels to not be silent today.

“I” for Inspiration:

The #ALSicebucketchallenge.

Last summer, people of all races, ages, abilities, and incomes were inspired by the #ALSIceBucketChallenge (IBC) to dump a bucket of ice on their heads or donate money in the name of ALS …including me!

Some vocal folks thought it was crazy or a fad.

Not me. My mom had ALS….See post: https://carpooldaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/come-talk-to-me/)

“E” for Exuberance.

Heart leaping, joy skipping, spirit soaring exuberance is what I felt yesterday in discovering that the IBC has raised over $220 million dollars worldwidesince just last summer. http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2014/12/12/ice-bucket-challenge-has-raised-220-million.html

And…..then the news gets even better.  

The dollars raised are in already in action!

Multidisciplinary ALS clinics that had been previously closed are begin re-opened and re-staffed, new research is being funded, essential patient programs, services, and technology are being re-ignited and delivered. See http://www.alsa.org for details.

Lives are changing.

A simple challenge started in Boston.

Enormous impact worldwide.

Thanks to the Frates family and friends!

Mom's License plate.
Mom’s License plate.

Want to Run Faster, Further and with Less Injuries? Yoda Says: Check your Form.

I learned to LOVE running when I finally made a choice to focus on my form.

Over the past 30 + years of running, playing soccer and countless races, I learned to run slow, fast, short, medium and long distances, to hydrate, to eat well, and get sleep (if you can) before races.

I never thought about my form as a runner. 

As a result, I ended up with a slew of injuries and x-tra gear; pain in my metatarsals (across toes), IT band pain, piriformis pain, rotator cuff pain, heel pain, shin splints, a ganglion cyst on my ankle, x-rays, the “boot”, and $350 orthotics, and many stabilizing shoes.

It’s just the life of a runner!  With each visit to the doctor, he would say “Don’t run for at least six weeks!

Gasp.  I just HAD to run ya know? So I would go right back out there exactly 6 weeks later and get injured again. 🙂

Alas! The running skies opened in 2005.

That was the day I read a small article about running form in our local paper, The Charlotte Observer.  The author suggested that we consider our body mechanics and alignment while running versus just the shoes. It made so much sense! But who knew? My previous foot doctors had never analyzed my form, nor had I!

Was the author actually saying it might be me not the SHOE?

This reminded me CarTalk on public radio!  He suggested we poor injured readers reach out to ultra runners Barefoot Ted or Danny Dreyer for additional help.  Dreyer had just published a book called “ChiRunning” which combined good running form, with physics and the ancient martial art of Tai Chi.

I was not ready to go barefoot then but decided that day as a trainer, and an injury-prone runner, to pursue ChiRunning with all my might.

My injuries went away almost overnight.

You can imagine how I became a RAVING fan!  Such a fan I decided to become an instructor and have been teaching this form and philosophy along with instructors all over the world since 2007.

Chi Running decreases injury while enhancing energy efficiency, speed, mental clarity and joy (because you are not injured and probably faster).

The key components of good form Excellent posture, alignment and relaxation of your shoulders, arms and feet, an engaged core, a quicker, shorter mid-foot stride and a very slight lean from the ankle (Why lean? Physics).

The fee: Free. You just have to be mindful.  As we instructors like to say, focusing on your form with every step you take is a tiny price to pay if it will enable you to run injury free, or get back to running.

Are You Injured?  Let’s check your form!

Look down at your feet. Do you splay your feet? That splay in your right or left foot may explain your ongoing knee, IT band and hip pain on the same side.  Tip: Align your feet hip width and parallel.

How is your posture? Do you stand, work, walk and run hunched over or with poor posture? Got text neck? This creates stress in your neck, upper and lower back, hamstrings and knees. Pore posture also compromises your ability to inhale and exhale efficiently when exercising. Tip: Run tall and lightly. Align your ears, shoulders, hips and feet in a vertical column and engage your core. Check what this looks like in a mirror. 

How do you use your arms?  Do you even use them?  You should! Do your arms “sashay” or swing laterally as you run? Hello IT band and hip pain! Maybe even rotator cuff pain. Tip: Align arms parallel and at a 90 degree angle on flats.  Allow them to glide fully as you run.

Check your shoes. Are the heels of your shoes built up? Are they clunkers? Not everyone needs a light minimal shoe, but long ago I learned that it is YOU not the shoe that needs to work harder to prevent injury! Tip: Try on a lighter neutral shoe.

Why? If you have a shoe with nosebleed heels or a high heel-to toe drop, it will simply encourage heel striking and related pain (think shin splints, plantar and achilles pain, fractures, runners knee and back pain).  Note, if you still prefer cushion, there are several popular new cushy rides on the market such as Hokas.

Run to cadence. Our military figured this out long ago! Tip: Run with a metronome or find songs with a 175-180 bpm. Or run to your own waltz, right 2,3, left 2,3 and so on.

Tight shoulders?  When running, do you ruminate about your job, the family, boyfriend, girlfriend, bills, competitors, and your to-do list? Tip: Get in the flow.  Use runs to focus on you – your form, nature and breathing.

As you focus on your form and relaxing whether running solo or with groups, you will run more efficiently, faster, and eventually look or feel like you are gliding like a Kenyan!

Use these tips! Your running life may truly change! You may change! Just ask the thousands of recreational, fitness and competitive runners worldwide who ChiRun, run with great form and even barefoot run!

How to Fail Forward

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Embrace the Ick.”

IMG_2236

Last year the “Ick” arrived again by complete surprise.

You may have experienced this kinda “Ick” yourself when you got some awful news!

Personally,  I was blindsided.  I lost my trust in other’s.  I felt misunderstood.  I was angry. I was hurt, bruised and confused.

I even got physically sick.

Then, while living with the “Ick” over a few long weeks, I finally came to realize something had to change.  The”Ick” had way too much control over me.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn” say’s author John Maxwell.

It was my season to learn.

I made a concerted effort to gain wisdom from the “Ick.”  I took the time to learn how leaders of all kinds faced crisis and prevailed, or failed at something and applied lesson’s learned to move onward with success.

Then I wrote it all down.

Doing this work helped turn the “Ick” into light and my loss into a win.

Thankfully, I finally learned to #Fail-forward.

What a Day!

Fin. APR

Why What a Day blog?

The 2014 Push Onward.

1. Research: I researched leadership, resilience, trust, community, health, anger, positive thinking and the power of the brain to change. Important stuff to share.

2. Mentor: My former English teacher, Dave Sharrett, encouraged me to write.  Not only had Dave and his wife been a huge support when my Dad died, he understood grief at its highest level. He lost his own son, Dave, aka “Bean” to war.

3. Reality: Life is short. Cut to the chase. I participated in the SouthEastern Brain Tumor Foundation Race for Research on the Babes with Brains team for the 3rd time on behalf of Jen Gilberto, my amazing Babe with Brains friend, who has a “piece of shit” brain tumor (see her blog at Greymatterlife.com).  Over the weekend, Jen and I had been discussing transparency, writing and life.  She finally said, “Amy, what are you waiting for? You need to start pressing publish!”

4: Freedom: I heard it yet once again, this time from Ron Carter, President of JCSU: “When you tell your story, it sets you free, and lights the path for others.”

What a day!

Come Talk to us about ALS. Please Come Talk to Me.

A beautiful day

Recently I was listening to Pandora in the carpool line, when my mind wandered to the successful #ALSicebucketchallenge and a visit of its co-founder, Nancy Frates whose son Pete has ALS.

“Come Talk to Me” by Peter Gabriel came on the station.

It immediately resonated. I looked it up online.  Come Talk To Me Peter Gabriel

I learned he wrote it about communicating with his daughter.

Communication – isn’t that what we all want? What we need more of?

Come Talk to Me.

This song reminded me of my mom who had ALS.

When Mom first showed signs of ALS, it affected her speech.

She began to slur her words.

When she called friends or businesses she knew, they thought she was drunk, so hung up.

3 years after she was dx. with ALS Mom became totally paralyzed.

She often had to rely on people coming up to her to talk.

Come Talk to Me.

As the ALS progressed in her body, she could not speak or type on a computer.

Her facial muscles weakened, so eventually it became difficult to read emotion on her face.

The worst part of her ALS for me was when we really struggled to communicate.

Because in the end, she could only communicate with her eyes.

#WhyIRun

 Upon hearing this song, my thoughts about the ALS challenge came full circle.

The #ALSicebucketchallenge and ALS is so much about communication.

Social media was the perfect platform.

What if you have ALS and you cannot talk, walk or move well but your brain still works?

You CRAVE to converse, to sing, to run, to play instruments, to write and type.

You want to SCREAM from a mountain top.

You want to SHATTER the glass walls around you with a wrecking ball.

But you can’t.

So what can you do to get attention?

Embrace 21st century technology!

That IS it! That is freaking it!

The #ALSicebucketchallenge is a rally cry.

Yes, a battle cry by the ALS community, and for all of those who suffer from incurable diseases and can’t advocate for themselves.

Come talk to us. Stop looking the other way.

This challenge rocked the world.

Like ALS rocks ours.

Come talk to me.

In January 2000, my sisters and I learned our mother had a strange disease called ALS.

It was a cold, rainy day when we found out it was ALS.

Even the doctor’s office was grim when we waited for the diagnosis.

When the young neurologist finally walked in the room she said,

“You have ALS.  I am sorry.”

Silence.

I am sorry? 

“There is no cure….”

Silence.

WTF?

Then she said, “We all die someday…it is just a matter of how.”

OMG, what a thing to say!

As my body tried to fight back the tears my heart ached and my lungs burned.

Our dad had died 8 years earlier of Cancer. That was hard.

Now Mom had ALS, an insurmountable diagnosis. What would this bring?

I hugged my mom and asked the doctor, “What can we do?”

“Well, there is an interesting study going at Johns Hopkins. You should call the lead researcher.” (I later learned the study was with mice.) 

She scribbled his name on a little piece of paper.

My God, my God…where for art thou?

“Good luck” said the Dr. as she disappeared from the room.

Good luck? We got out of that hell hole as fast as we could.

I read all about ALS that night and cried myself to sleep.

My pillow was soaked with tears.

ALS moves fast.

Most ALS patients become 100% paralyzed within months or years, yet their mind stays intact. Many patients die within two to five years.

Yet, while living with ALS, patients lose their ability to walk, speak, feed themselves, lift a glass, hold a pencil, hug their children, or pet an animal. 

In the later stages of ALS, patients are only able to communicate with their eyes.

Then they lose their ability to breathe and die.

Why does this happen?

In a normal situation, the brain sends out messages to tell the body and muscles to move, or take a certain action, the message carriers deliver the message, and we move.

With ALS, the message carriers (motor neurons) die so when the brain says go do this action, the muscles don’t get the message, so they begin to atrophy and paralyze.

The conversation just stops.

As a newly diagnosed ALS patient, you might be brave enough to walk into an ALS or MDA support group meeting.

There you will see patients of all ages, races and stages of ALS, but also see reps for power wheelchairs, accessible vans, ventilators,  breathing machines, Hoyer lifts and portable ramps.

Just Imagine what you get to look forward to!

Mom remained positive throughout her journey with ALS, but as a newly diagnosed patient, she walked in-and then right out of her first support group meeting.

Mom was very outgoing and loved interacting with people.

She was a business entrepreneur and active citizen.

She also loved singing, biking, working out, dancing and playing her piano.

ALS first attacked her speech.

Then it affected her hands.

So, Mom could no longer play the keys on her piano.  

Her handwriting soon became illegible.  Within a year it became impossible for her to hold pencil, or type on a keyboard with her fingers-even with the lightest (like a feather)  touch.

As a result of the atrophy in her hands, Mom also had problems feeding herself.

It was very uncomfortable for other people to see her eating or being helped to eat, so like many patients, she stopped attending events she loved where food was served, or just would not partake at an event while others were eating.

Then it progressed to her legs.

I vividly remember one day early in her diagnosis when we were driving back from Johns Hopkins. The appointment with the neurologist and drive back had been really tough.

It was raining.

Happy to be safely home, we parked in the garage and headed towards a short ramp to the elevator at her apartment. The pavement was slick from the moisture.

She was using her walker shuffling ahead to the elevator.  I was holding groceries and close behind her.

Suddenly, she lost balance and began to fall forward as she got to the cement ramp. HOLY SHIT!

We both screamed in pure terror as I dropped the bags, grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her back with all my might to prevent her from dropping face forward. I am thankful to this day she did not smash her beautiful face.

We realized right then we needed to get a wheelchair for safe transport.

Soon thereafter, we would get calls from Mom often at 2 and 3 am because she had fallen out of her bed. It took brut physical and mental strength of both my husband and I to lift her back into bed safely.

We knew we needed more help.

Thankfully, mom had purchased long-term care insurance (LTC) eight years earlier after my Dad died, so we were able to hire CNAs to help us at night.  It was peace of mind and respite for us, but a major loss of independence for mom – just a year into her ALS.

Many patients have to rely solely on their family, friends or neighbors for help.

She began losing weight quickly.

What a diet eh?

The Dr. said we needed do go ahead with surgery for a feeding tube.  She had never had surgery before so we were scared, but installing a tube would ensure she would get the life saving calories and nutrition she needed.

She had to do it, or else. So one day in the back pew at church we made the tearful decision to get it done.

We went through four wheelchairs in three years, the last one being a shiny red power wheelchair, just like the fancy one we had seen at the very first support group meeting.

By this time, Mom was almost totally paralyzed. But she was able to “drive” the wheelchair via a tiny switch on the arm pad.

This was great when she wanted to run away from us or get some speed!

Mom continued going to concerts and church on Sundays. She loved to hear the choir, organ music, and visit with friends, so she had always sat close up front.

Once she was in a wheelchair, she had to sit in the back of the church.

Please talk to me.

Church friends who normally talked to her would smile as they walked by us as they left the church. They could not understand what she said, or did not know what to say, so they did not try too hard.  Awkward I suppose. So, communication was at a minimum.

Along our journey, a sweet reporter with Fox news in Washington, DC did a long documentary on mom, ALS, and our fundraising and advocacy efforts.

At one dramatic point during the filming, Mom said:

“I want to stand up and say please don’t ignore me!”

“I just want you to come talk to me!”

The lack of communication was painful.

She could hear but eventually could not speak.

When Mom could no longer speak or communicate with her hands or a laptop dictating her typing (think early version of Siri), we held up an alphabet chart in front of her, so she could “point and click” with her eyes what she desperately wanted to communicate.

#Awful.

Then she began to struggle to breathe.

Our gorgeous, outgoing, wildly fun Mom died in 2004, just 4 years into her diagnosis and 2 weeks after my baby daughter was born.

ALS brought this Type A girl to her knees.

No matter how fast we worked to obtain assistive technology, equipment, the insanely expensive medication for symptom management, and get the doctors, insurance, nurses, and care team aligned, as well as raise money for research; we could not halt ALS. 

Think this is a fundraising fad?

Hmm.

Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

Imagine having ALS.

Yes.

Imagine desperately trying to communicate with your words or hands.

Imagine not being able to hug or hold those you love. imagine not being able to hold your child or grandchild safely.

Imagine trying to get to an ALS walk on time when the wheelchair does not work or the van ramp mis-functions.

Imagine not being able to get up Capital Hill in your power wheelchair on ALS Advocacy Day because, even with the power chair, it takes too much oxygen.

Imagine not being able to enter a house or business because there is no ramp to get in, nor door wide enough, nor accessible bathroom for you, your wheelchair and a caregiver.

Imagine being a caregiver to someone you love with ALS.  

Imagine all that you see and do for your loved one to keep up with ALS. Then you pause and remember to show your love by wrapping thier arms around you for that hug, because they are unable to move their arms by themselves.

IMAGINE all this frustration! Then imagine not being able to verbally express it.

OR do anything to stop it.

There is good though. Really. You get something for going through ALS.

Gratitude, Humility and Community.

When you take care of someone you love who has ALS, you become highly sensitive and thankful for accessible parking spaces, supportive friends, businesses, restrooms, venues  service providers, firemen and ALS/MDA support teams who come to the rescue.

You also become very thankful for any simple act of kindness people show, such as opening a door, giving a smile, making eye contact, lending a strong hand, stopping by for a visit, or simply making a certain transaction easier.

You also become utterly thankful for the doctors, researchers, scientists, microbiologists, ALS and MDA foundations, activists and advocates and big data. All these people and groups try year after year, to help slow or stop the progression of ALS.

This is why the #Icebucketchallenge is so amazing for all of us in the ALS community. 

We are so thankful.

It gives us a way to communicate en masse and it continues to give a glimmer of hope.

A certain justice indeed. Take that ALS Monster.

Here is the kicker. This is why it matters so much.

It made a difference.

ALS was first discovered in the 1860 by the father of neurology, Jean-Martin Charcot. Yet it is 2017 and we still have NO cure. Like so many neurological diseases, ALS has not been profitable enough for drug companies to bring to market life saving therapies and discoveries. We have been waiting for progress for over 157 years.

Yet, the Ice Bucket Challenger has turned the tide.

My mom would have loved this.

#Changemakers

Here is the impact you had as of 2017.

RESULTS: Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

Fundraising:

Over $250 Million for 
ALS has been raised around the world.

Collaboration:

ALS foundations, researchers and scientists have collaborated for the very first time. 80 researchers in 11 countries shared knowledge. #BeyondPublishing.

Gene Discovery:

This Ice Bucket Challenge funded a new gene discoveries announced July 2016.

Big Data Discovery

Drug Discovery:

2 new drugs are in clinical trials with ALS patients.

Patient Care:

100% increase in patient care and services.

Veterans Research:

$75 Million given to the Department of Defense to understand why Veterans are twice as likely to get ALS.

Clinical Trials Push. 

FDA agreed to speed up clinical trials for ALS patients.

This happened in just 2 years!

We need to keep the momentum.

We need you #Changemakers to stay engaged.

One amazing discovery with ALS could open up a whole new world in nueromuscular research, therapies and cures.

Thanks to the Frates and 21st century fundraising.

We made this kind of impact together

Fin. ARP Updated 5/1/17

*I do not own rites to this incredible music.

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