In the summer of 2014, throes of people across the world uploaded videos of themselves to social media dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and nominating friends to do the same. Besides being fun to watch friends and family suffer through the auto-torturous practice of kerplunking frigid water on themselves, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was also the first time millions of people had even heard of the debilitating disease. Reason being, according to the Center for Disease Control, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease) is “very rare,” impacting 20,000 people in the United States per year.
It’s for that reason that ALS hasn’t garnered the attention of major pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs to cure the disease or slow its effects.
In May 2004, Violet Jones-Medusky, mother of professional surfer Mikala Jones, was diagnosed with ALS. A longtime surfer, triathlete, and runner, the diagnosis was a major blow. And for seven years Mikala and his family watched as the disease made physical tasks more and more difficult for Vi. During her battle with ALS, Vi was a beacon of hope, becoming involved in Hawaii’s ALS community and raising awareness and funds for ALS programs. Sadly, in 2011 Vi passed due to ALS-related circumstances, and as per her request funds from her estate were used to found ALS Ohana of Hawaii.
ALS Ohana of Hawaii’s mission is to improve the quality of life of those living with ALS and their families in Hawaii.
For each Reef Experience tee made this holiday season, Reef has donated $1 to the ALS Ohana of Hawaii. To learn more about how you can support and to donate visit alsohana.org.