Kermit the Frog puppet sitting on a log tree

Kermit the Frog Risks His Life to Accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


Sure, dozens of celebrities have accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but we can’t help but feel like this one is a bit unique.

In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Kermit the Frog accepted the challenge from WWE CEO Vince McMahon to dump a bucket of cold water on his head to raise money and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Being an amphibian, it turns out that… getting drenched by freezing cold water could actually make me go totally dormant and my heart could stop,” Kermit says in the video. “But no matter! No matter at all.”

Kermit nominated his “Muppets Most Wanted” co-stars Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell to either complete the challenge or donate to an ALS charity of their choice (preferably both). The Ice Bucket Challenge has helped raise more than $41 million so far for research and patient care, according to the ALS Association.

Watch Kermit risk his life to help save others in the hilarious video below.

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RELATED VIDEOS

Man With ALS Makes Poignant Ice Bucket Challenge Video With a Texan Twist


David McClain has an amazing spirit. There’s no other way to put it.

He’s been living with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) for 12 years, according to his fundraising page. The disease has left him bedridden and paralyzed from the shoulders down. He uses a feeding tube to eat, a ventilator to breath and computer technology to talk.

“But as bad as that sounds I am able to keep a positive attitude with the help of my family, my friends and the good Lord,” McClain says in his Ice Bucket Challenge video below. He then challenges his Facebook friends to get iced — and donate to the ALS Association.

“With your help we can find a cure to this horrible disease,” McClain says. “There is always hope.”

At the end, he takes the challenge  — with Texas-shaped ice cubes — to honor his home state. He’s certainly Texas strong.

Watch the full video below:

If you’d like to make a donation towards McClain’s treatments, head here.

h/t Buzzfeed

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Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Haters, This Is for You


ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos are undoubtedly taking over your Facebook timeline. That annoys some people. But the young man in the video below is proof that the awareness and funding* is doing one of two things: Educating people on a disease they previously knew nothing about or making it OK to talk about an otherwise taboo subject.

In the clip, Anthony Carbajal, 26, takes the Ice Bucket Challenge (it’s kind of hilarious) but then explains why he did so: His grandmother had ALS, his mother was diagnosed when he was in high school, and five months ago, he too was diagnosed.

“I promise your newsfeed will go back to cat videos and ‘Let It Go’ covers, but right now the ALS community has the main spotlight, and for once in my entire life I see it in the forefront,” Carbajal says.

His seven-minute video is hard to watch at times — because it’s honest.

“I apologize for my rant and for my tears, but if I simply dump ice on my head I don’t think you’re really gonna get the point,” he says. “This is the first successful advocacy we’ve really ever had, and I am so, so grateful. You have no idea how every single challenge makes me feel, lifts my spirits, lifts every single ALS patient’s spirits. You’re really, truly making a difference.”

Watch his full video below, and if you’d like to make a donation directly to Carbajal, head here. If you’d like to make a donation to the ALS Association, head here.

*As of Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year.

h/t Upworthy

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My Dad's Ice Bucket Challenge Video Went Viral. Here's Why That Matters.


 

A minute-and-a-half-long video of Dad and me is all of a sudden plastered all over the Internet.

At first we were excited about getting 100 likes on Facebook and having people call us out in their videos. Then a few days later, Dad bursts into tears because he sees his face and his message on the Huffington Post. The ice bucket challenge is social media activism reaching unprecedented levels, and I’m witnessing it all firsthand. Not only are ALS organizations across the nation receiving massive increases in donations, but the Palko family is as well. Complete and total strangers are reaching into their pockets to help out a family they don’t even know. Strangers are reading this right now because of the amazing power of social media. In the past week my inbox has been flooded with hundreds of messages from people who saw the video and had something nice to say, some information to share, a story to tell. About 100 of those messages came from people whose lives are directly affected by ALS. Dozens of those are sons and daughters of parents who are suffering from ALS or who have already passed from it.

Before all of this social media madness, I didn’t know anybody else in my shoes. I have amazing support and incredible friends, but nobody quite understood what it’s like to be experiencing this. And now, thanks to our video going viral, I’ve been in touch with other people who know exactly what I feel like. They know how hard it is to leave home and go to college when your parents are home suffering. They gave me a hint to call my dad’s cell phone and let it ring through to his voicemail so I hear the message he recorded a few years ago and remember what his voice used to sound like. They have stories about their dads running wheelchairs into walls. I feel less alone.

Now what would the Internet be without comments of criticism? To those suffering from drought on the West Coast, I sincerely wish I could give you all the water that’s been pouring down on the East Coast. I wish all of these buckets dumped over people’s heads could be dumped over your gardens, farms and rivers. Maybe we can start dumping buckets of sand over our heads to raise awareness and demand action for drought and climate change. My entire academic life is devoted to environmental studies, so I would be thrilled if the next big social media campaign targets these drastic problems.

For those who are annoyed with the ice bucket challenge taking up your news feed and for those who think this really isn’t doing anything, I first want you ask you if you knew about ALS before this happened. If you did, great! If you didn’t, well now you do! This disease is receiving more attention than it’s ever gotten. ALS organizations across the nation have received millions of dollars over the past couple days. Those donations will be channeled into research that will hopefully figure out this disease. Because right now there is almost nothing known about ALS. We don’t know how it’s caused, we don’t know how to treat it and we sure as hell don’t have a cure. This matters because maybe one day you or your father or mother or the love of your life will be diagnosed with ALS. It will be the most terrifying diagnosis you ever receive. Because your life might end up looking like this. Because you will learn that you have about 2-5 years to live. You will see your hands stop working, your legs stop walking, your voice stop talking, your breathing disappearing. But your brain will still function perfectly, and it will have to process how insanely debilitating and depressing it is to watch your body slowly turn to mush while your loved ones surround you in confusion and sadness.

Here in the Palko house we have good days and bad days, just like everybody else. We laugh when the dogs jump up on Dad’s wheelchair, drink good beer and watch Jimmy Fallon. But sometimes we have really, really bad days. My mom’s birthday was earlier this week. When she left to go on an hour walk with her friend — the first time she’s been able to leave the house and do something for herself — Dad and I were alone to decorate and prepare her birthday dinner. As I scurried around the house trying to get everything in order, I stepped into Dad’s room to find him quietly crying. I ask what’s wrong and he says he just wants to help. He begins to sob; I begin to sob. We laugh at each other crying and then cry some more. He just wants to set the table, to hang some streamers, to sign her birthday card and buy a gift for my mother. My incredibly strong, amazing mother, who works tirelessly to make sure we keep a roof over our heads and wheelchair ramps under our feet. Who serves as Dad’s arms and legs. Who gets up three times every single night to go downstairs to check on him, flip him over in bed, adjust his covers. Who drives him multiple times a week to Boston so he can work with physical therapists and blow doctors away by walking more than they expect. My mother is the most under-recognized person in all of this, and we would be nothing without her.

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But she’s tired. We’re all tired. We’re sad, confused, frustrated, aggravated and exhausted. We fall into fits of uncontrollable crying because this is hard, but life is hard. It’s hard for everybody on this planet. Every day we remain alive is a damn miracle. It’s overwhelming to see what’s going on in the world. I wake up to news about Israel and Palestine, an immigration and refugee crisis at our border, blatant racism alive and well in our country, California being sucked dry, Robin Williams dead…

Everybody is just trying to survive on this planet. And while life is hard and overwhelming, we survive. Because the human spirit is strong and triumphs adversity. There is tremendous good in the world. I’m seeing it right now. Friends, family, and complete strangers are reaching out to show they care. I wake up to messages of people saying how inspired they are to help, how they donated despite having almost no money in their bank accounts, how they offer words of comfort and solidarity in a struggle that once seemed impossibly tough, now seems possible. I find strength and courage and hope in these people’s words. They encourage my family and me to be brave and set an example others facing challenge. Good acts propel this world forward; whether it’s saying one nice thing to somebody who needs to hear it, volunteering, protesting for a cause you believe in, being a friend to someone with depression, or donating money to help fight ALS or any other cause that’s important to you. People are always looking for stories that “restore their faith in humanity.” How about doing something every day so that your faith in humanity is constant and doesn’t need restoring? Live compassionately, and in the words of one of my heroes, Neil deGrasse Tyson, lessen the suffering of others. Whatever you do to help another person survive on this crazy planet is doing good for not only them but for you too.

The ice bucket challenge will probably die down soon, but our fight with ALS is just beginning.  Now that so many people are more aware of ALS and these organizations have some money, maybe we can start some groundbreaking studies to help find a cure. The progression of science and the medical world have accomplished incredible feats. We’ve eradicated deadly diseases, prevented viruses, treated cancers, cured illnesses. Now it’s ALS’s turn. Let’s turn this terminal illness into a treatable one.

I hope more than anything that Dad’s 8 million stem cells kick in and the next video to go viral is of him skiing or surfing again. Or of Pete Frates tossing a baseball to his expected child, or Steve Gleason throwing a football back in the stadium where he belongs. I hope it’s a video of a person dying of ALS all of a sudden able use his or her arms again to hug their families and use their own voice instead of a computer’s to say I love you.

When that video comes out, you will look back and remember why the ice bucket challenge mattered.

This post originally appeared on KregPalkoALS.com. If you’d like to make a donation to the Palko family, head here.

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The Single Best Ice Bucket Challenge Video We’ve Seen Yet


Right now, Facebook is exploding with Ice Bucket Challenge videos. At this point, most of your friends have probably taken the bet — dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads to raise awareness and funding for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). The campaign has grown into a phenomena in only two months; to date, it’s raised more than $168,000.

Below, you’ll see our favorite Ice Bucket Challenge video, hailing from Barrington, Rhode Island. It features Gabriella Palko and her dad, Kreg Palko, who has the neurodegenerative disease.

“I can’t stand by and watch everyone pour ice on their heads without joining in myself,” Kreg Palko says in the clip. “Thank you everyone on behalf of all of us who have ALS. Thank you.”


If you’d like to make a donation to Kreg Palko’s treatments, head here. To support the ALS Association, head here.

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Bill Gates participating in the ice bucket challenge

Here's How Much Money the Ice Bucket Challenge Is Actually Raising


If you’ve been on Facebook recently, you may have noticed a lot of your friends posting videos where they pour buckets of ice water on their heads to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). But just how effective is this viral campaign?

The concept behind “The Ice Bucket Challenge” is simple: People dump a bucket of freezing water on themselves and dare their friends to do the same within 24 hours. If they refuse the dare, they’re encouraged to donate money to an ALS charity of their choice.

Former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates made the campaign popular by encouraging people to participate in late July. Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. The neurodegenerative disease affects both the brain and spinal chord. About 5,600 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year, according to The ALS Association.

While the campaign has garnered a significant amount of attention on Facebook, theoretically, every video you see is of someone choosing to spread awareness rather than donate money. However, the ALS Association’s national president, Barbara Newhouse, told a CBS Boston affiliate that donations this year are exceeding $168,000. This time last year, the Association had raised $14,000.

“The ALS Association just couldn’t be happier with the visibility that this is bringing to our disease, ALS and the ALS movement,” Newhouse told the station.

Frates’ wife Julie told Elle magazine that, although the campaign seems like a stunt, it’s important for people to remember that donations are what are most helpful.

“It’s both pieces. It’s seeing people do this and also donating to your local ALS chapter or whatever you choose,” she explained to the magazine. “It’s become so big now, people are questioning whether it’s effective, but it’s definitely effective. We just got a call from our Massachusetts ALS association who said donations are up 10 times this week from what they were this time last year. So obviously, Pete’s fund sees the benefits of it, but it’s much broader than our foundation… we’re making real progress here. It’s not just a trending thing on Facebook.”

You can watch people participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge on Frates’ Facebook Page.

If you’re interested in making a donation to The ALS Association, head here.

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