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Success of web trend gives local family fighting ALS hope
CINCINNATI (Larry Davis) -- It's a social phenomenon still going strong, filling news feeds and helping to raise nearly $42 million since July 29th, 2014.
The "Ice Bucket Challenge" is not only raising big money, but providing big hope to those fighting the disease. Tri-staters have indeed stepped up to the challenge. Between July 29 and August 18 of 2014, the Central and Southern Ohio ALS chapter raised $109,000, more than twice the amount compared to a year ago.
Everybody's doing it from celebrities and athletes to friends and neighbors. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is leading to millions of dollars in donations to fight a disease that dramatically changes lives like Bob and Elaine Thieman.
Diagnosed with ALS in 2013, Bob knows what lies ahead, "In a short period of time I won't be able to talk to you or anyone. I won't be able to eat and pretty soon I won't be able to breathe."
Most of his muscles are gone, sometimes he struggles.
"We cry some days, some days we can laugh about it. We kid around and something will come to mind from out of the blue and we'll know this life is not going to be long for us like this," said Bob's wife Elaine.
But the money from the ice bucket challenge gives the Thieman's hope.
"It fills your heart and to be honest with you, I've cried a few tears over some of them. Because my friends, I haven't even talked to some of them in a long long time, are doing ice bucket challenges calling my name out in fact," Bob said.
Rich Walburg with the local MS Society said the trend has not led to a drop-off in donations to his charity. In fact, he thinks it brings attention to charities in general.
"There are people who probably have participated in this who have never participated in any charity event. This is one way they can use social media to help their given cause or any type of media in spreading awareness," Walburg said.
On the wall of the Thieman's home is a picture of Lou Gehrig giving his famous speech 75 years ago. It provides inspiration.
"'I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I may have had a tough break but I have an awful lot to live for.' And that was the end of the speech and that's what we like to think. We have a lot to live for," Bob said.
Bob and Elaine Thieman are set to take their own "Ice Bucket Challenge" with friends. The ALS Association is also sponsoring the Walk to Defeat ALS September 28 at Winton Woods Metro Park.
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