How a Hashtag Helped (Almost) End a Disease

 

I have never been a coffee drinker. That taste has always been too bitter for me. So, I never really found myself at places like Dutch Bros or Starbucks. However, nowadays, almost everyone drinks coffee. The American coffee is just like the English tea. Dutch Bros is a wildly popular place, especially among the young kids. If you go on any social media platform, you are almost guaranteed to find a picture of one of their cups posted by someone. Dutch Bros has taken advantage of their popularity, and have started a #DrinkOneForDane day, which actually started all the way back in 2006, after the co founder, Dane Boersma, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. He died inn 2009, unfortunately. However, his spirit still lives on, as the company still has the special day on the first Friday of May.

This year’s “#DrinkForDane” raised over $970 K towards the fight to find a cure for ALS. The Muscular Dystrophy Association, which is the organization that Dutch Bros goes through with their donations, has not found a cure for this terrible disease yet, but they are working on it! Dutch Bros has helped them come even closer to finding a cure.

ALS is a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It’s a progressive degenerating disease, which just means that it happens through out a person’s life, and can’t be stopped. This can cause a person to not be able to speak, breathe, eat, or move.

There are two different kinds of ALS: familial and sporadic. Sporadic is much more common, and accounts for about 90-95% of all ALS cases. Now, the familial is only in families, and only affects that little 5-10% of ALS cases. Because it’s a hereditary disease, there’s a 50/50 chance of the child getting it.

There is an FDA drug approved for this disease, however, it only slows down the degenerating of the cells, it doesn’t stop the disease. This disease normally only occurs between the ages of 40 to 70, unless you have the familial disease, then the children have a 50% chance of contracting ALS.

If anyone you know has this disease, then they may go to a support group in order to help them fight through their struggles. Studies done by the American Academy of Neurology’s Practice Paramater Update have shown that those who attend a support group normally could prolong their life and live a generally happier life.

There is an amazing website at http://www.alsa.org/community/ that holds all the information you need in order to be helped, if you have ALS, or how to help end the fight against ALS. There is a place where you select what state you live in, and they can help find support groups, certified clinics, and your local chapter. Your local chapter provides localized patient and family support across the nation. This is a great website to use for anyone looking for help or trying to help.

You may remember the #ALSIceBucketChallenge from a few years ago, the challenge where everyone, including celebrities, would choose to either donate money to the cause or get a bucket of ice on their head. They would then nominate a few other people to do the same challenge. Most people took the ice water and donated their money. All of these donations ended up raising a whopping $115 million! According to a chart, which you can see at http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ibc-progress.html, $77 million of this is going towards research. All the other money is going towards other projects, such as education, patient and community services, fund raising, etc.

We are getting so close to figuring out how to end the fight with ALS. It’s amazing to see how just an internet trend or a coffee house can make such a difference in our world. If you would like to help towards this cause, you can go to https://secure2.convio.net/alsa/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app278b?df_id=37513&mfc_pref=T&37513.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=EEA2213A6E705D542BAA4FF842E2C9F2 , or if you would like it to be more simple, just search “ALS donate” in Google and it should pop up. Thank you to everyone who has put in any effort towards this foundation, and hopefully we can one day beat this monster of a disease!

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