The ALS fundraising craze is more of a tsunami than a bucket! I have clicked on videos of friends, celebrities, the occasional pet, dunking themselves in bracing cold water to support the ALS fight. These clips are hilarious and this is likely the most successful online campaign for funding and awareness ever created. So why haven’t I dunked myself?
My dear friend Danielle would have loved the Ice Bucket Challenge – I am pretty sure she would have participated whole heartedly. That was just her style. Diving right in to the thick of it. Danielle died two summers ago from ALS. Much too young, much too vibrant, leaving behind family and friends to cope. (I wrote about Danielle shortly after her funeral – Fields of Gold).Danielle’s Mom and Dad, sister and brothers had the hardest time of course. She moved in with her parents, her brother quit his job and moved back to the family home to assist with her care, their lives taken on a path from which there was no diverging.
Last summer, Danielle’s Mom Suzanne sent an email announcing she was participating in the Walk for ALS “Please support me in my Walk for ALS…” Not in the best health herself, a woman who had aged from caring for her daughter, Suzanne was going to walk 5km to raise money to support ALS research while honouring the life of Danielle. And so she did. I’ve been thinking a lot about Danielle this summer as the Ice Bucket craze swept Facebook, knowing she would have sent me the challenge yet just not able to do the dunk. And I haven’t been sure why. Then last week I received an email from Suzanne that began “Please support me in my Walk for ALS…” In the midst of the social media fun, came a heart felt request. A whisper in contrast to the squeals and laughter of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I burst into tears. Without video, fanfare, not looking for accolades or attention, Suzanne would again embark on a 5 km walk with each step dedicated to Danielle. Just like she did last year and if her health allows, will next year too. Ice Bucket Challenge or not.
If you, like me, are looking for a way to participate but without ice water, then perhaps you would like to learn more about Suzanne’s participation in the Walk for ALS. If you go to her fundraising page on the ALS site, you will note that Suzanne humbly hopes to raise $300. You will see beautiful pictures of Danielle, including one in her RCMP uniform (yup, she was amazing!), and you will read, in true quiet Suzanne fashion, a loving short statement about losing her daughter.
Here’s to a summer of fantastic attention to ALS, to unprecedented amounts of money being raised, and to one Mother who will walk in memory of my wonderful friend Danielle.