lifestyle

Is this 26-year-old man's life worth saving?

Anthony is 26 years old and he’s just been diagnosed with what we call Motor Neurone Disease.

Already, his fingers fumble when he’s trying to do up the buttons on his shirt. His hands shake and stiffen as he tries to brush his teeth. And he knows what’s coming because he’s seen it happen to his mother and his grandmother.

In time, Anthony won’t be able to move his lips to talk, and his legs won’t feel like his own. His muscles will weaken faster than they should and eventually, he won’t be able to breathe of his own accord. The disease will put this young man into an elderly man’s body well before it’s time.

Anthony is the reason Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow, J-Lo, Taylor Swift, Ben Affleck and Bill Gates have all dumped buckets of ice water over their heads this week.

Anthony is the reason every celebrity with a heart and a bucket has done the “ice bucket challenge“.

As Anthony says, “I promise your news feed will go back to cat videos and covers of Frozen soon.”

But for now, all these ridiculous ice bucket challenge videos are serving a purpose – forcing us to talk about a painful, devastating illness. Oh, and it’s raised about $15 million for the cause so far.

Please, please, listen to what Anthony has to say.

The team at The Glow have answered a few questions you may have about how this ice bucket challenge is relevant in Australia.

What is ALS/motor neurone disease?

According to MND Australia, motor neurone disease refers to a group of diseases that cause the nerve cells which control the muscles responsible for vital functions in the body to degenerate and die:

“Motor function is controlled by the upper motor neurones in the brain that descend to the spinal cord; these neurones activate lower motor neurones. The lower motor neurones exit the spinal cord and directly activate muscles. With no nerves to activate them, muscles gradually weaken and waste. MND can affect a person’s ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe.”

ALS is the most common form of MND in adults.

Sadly, MND is progressive and terminal, and there’s no known cure of effective treatment for it. Every day in Australia two people pass away from MND, and two people are diagnosed.

Where can I donate?

Regardless of whether or not you decide to saturate yourself with iced water, you can still donate money to help improve the lives of people living with MND, and their loved ones, through research, advocacy and care. Visit MND Australia to find out exactly how public contributions are used, and to donate.