Icing the puck … just a little

Here’s a little-known secret about me … I love hockey. And, a recent novelty on social media – timed perfectly with the start of preseason training in the NHL – has me thinking about big buckets of ice.

And hockey pucks – that’s how they make round chunks of solid rubber slide across the ice, donchaknow.

They call it “icing the pucks,” not to be confused with the in-game penalty often referred to as “icing” or “icing the puck.” Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve already figured out, the Internet sensation to which I’m referring is, of course, referring to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The challenge has more than accomplished its mission of raising both awareness for the disease and money for research.

As I said, I love hockey. But, my first love will always and forever be baseball, which I started playing at the age of 6. So, I find it interesting that seemingly no one knows about ALS, more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Lou was known as “The Iron Horse” for his remarkable durability as a baseball player in the 1920s and ’30s. He played in 2,130 consecutive games for the New York Yankees, a Major League record that stood for 56 years. The streak and Lou’s career ended April 30, 1939, when he was diagnosed with ALS.

He died a little more than two years later at the age of 38.

Anyway, ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – cost a great ball player both his career and his life. Even today, it remains one of the more rare diseases to afflict Americans. About 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is a neurological disease that progressively affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting the signals sent to muscles throughout the body. Because there is no cure, the prognosis for every ALS patient is the same: the ability to initiate and control muscle movement will be lost until the patient dies.

The ALS Association was founded in 1985 and uses its resources to educate the public about the disease, to provide assistance to those who have been stricken by the disease, and to provide funding for research to find a cure.

Much of that research, however, is focused on stem cell research, both with adult stem cell lines and embryonic stem cell lines. The latter embryonic cells – those that come from human embryos – are cultivated in the laboratory for the purpose of in vitro fertilization and are “electively aborted,” and donated specifically for research purposes.

To date, no substantive therapeutic treatment or hope for a cure has been derived from embryonic stem cell research. But, the ALSA continues to push for its use, and therefore continues to support the practice. How committed? Well, this is what the ALSA had to say about it only a few weeks ago:

The ALS Association primarily funds adult stem cell research.  Currently, The Association is funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC), and the stem cell line was established many years ago under ethical guidelines set by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); this research is funded by one specific donor, who is committed to this area of research.  In fact, donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project. Under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future.

I hurt for those who suffer with ALS, just as I do for the loved ones who suffer alongside them, but as a pro-life-without-exceptions Christian, I cannot condone the destruction of life for the purpose of saving a life (maybe, someday). Nor can I support a worldview that is so fundamentally and diametrically opposed to my own on what I consider the most important issue – life.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission posted this Q&A about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge over the weekend. I’m not a Baptist, nor am I from the South (I have lived there, though), but I highly recommend you check it out.

As of this writing, the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought in $79.7 million, which is far more than  the $2.5 million it brought in during the same time frame in 2013. The ALSA claims to have 1.7 million new donors as a result of the challenge, as well.

So, if you’re wondering where all that money goes, the ALSA is very open about its financials. The non-profit posts its year-end reports on its website. The report for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31 is available at this link to the ALSA website.

But, as with all social media sensations, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do the Ice Bucket Challenge.

For those who do it wrong, there’s those places on the Internet where embarrassing videos go to live in infamy. For those who do it right, well … there’s always Patrick Stewart. I think I’m going to call this one The Picard Maneuver 2.0.

But for me, the only ice bucket challenge I’ll be participating in is the one where I’m fishing out another hockey puck.
Read more at http://stevedeace.com/news/icing-puck-just-little/