I love my friends. I do appreciate them calling me out to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but please let me explain why I refuse to participate.
I am a nurse practitioner and a former ER and hospice nurse. I have watched patients die of this terrible disease. I was there to bear witness of the pain in families eyes when they felt helpless. I was there to feed, change diapers, medicate, and provide TOTAL CARE to patients. This disease is TERRIBLE. It takes away your independence... and eventually, your life. Unmercifully, not soon enough. If you can imagine losing the use of your muscles, you would only visualize a portion of what this disease is like. Keep in mind that your bowels, heart, and lungs all work with muscles. No holding a fork, no scratching that itch.
According to alsa.org, donations this month have skyrocketed, thanks to social media. Launching the challenge on August 6, 2014, donations continue to climb. The website reports $31.5M on Aug 20, $41.8M on Aug 21, $53.3M on Aug 22, $62.5M on Aug 23, and $70.2M on Aug 24. That is amazing. I pray the money is used wisely.
As a proponent for human life, I am an opponent of using human embryos for study. ALSA is open about their use of human embryos for study, but does state it raises "ethical concerns."
Besides the ethical concerns, when has asking for donations turned into bullying? "People can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS Charity of their choice, or do both." I'm not sure I agree with that. I want to donate to a cause that I feel strongly about, but I don't want to be "forced" do do it or made to feel less than human if I don't. I have charities that I support.
With that being said, I'm not trying to encourage you not to donate. Pray about it. Research it for yourself. If you feel led to donate, please do. As I said earlier in this blog, I have seen what this terrible disease does to the body and to the lives of the people who are fighting it. I've watched them give up.
If you decide to donate to other organizations and don't know where to start, I've listed some that I have donated to and feel strongly about. There is no pressure for you to donate, but if you do, please research for yourself. I won't throw anything on you, inflict any harm, or make you feel bad if you don't.
Sav-A-Life - No matter which side of the "Choice" debate you are on, I think we can all agree that women can only make the right "choice" if she is well educated. They educate women and provide counseling as well as free pregnancy and STD testing. Ultrasound machines are used in their assessment and education. They also provide ongoing care to women and men. What if the cure for ALS or cancer is discovered by one of those saved? What if it was going to be discovered by one that wasn't?
Hospice - donating to a hospice of your choice provides patients with end-of-life medical care and supplies that are greatly needed
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition - Are you aware that most women who are diagnosed are already in stage 3?
Autism Speaks - Raising awareness and research.
The Urban Alternative - Connects with schools and the community
Focus on the Family - Read what they are about. This includes parenting, counseling, marriage, and faith.