BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Donations have been coming in across the country to raise awareness for ALS, which also is known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
So far, more than 450,000 new donors have put money toward the cause thanks to a social media phenomenon. A Brookfield woman explained Tuesday why the ice bucket challenge is so important to people like her who are living with the disease.
Jacquie Neumann, a former school teacher, can no longer talk. It’s one of the things ALS has taken from her since she was diagnosed more than a decade ago.
“She could still be teaching if she could talk. When she stopped being able to talk is when she lost being able to teach,” Neumann’s daughter, Jennifer, said.
Jennifer helps her mother communicate, and Jacquie also uses basic sign language.
“She deals with it better than I do,” Jennifer said.
Nine years ago, Jacquie was told she had six months to live. Most patients die within two to five years after being diagnosed.
Jacquie and Jennifer both know the disease changes everything.
“I love my mom. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Watching somebody go through it and not be able to help,” Jennifer said.
The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has been abuzz online. So Jacquie is making sure she, like others, participates in the challenge to help raise awareness.
Her nominations are typed up and ready to go. Does she think there is a cure on the horizon?
“Too late for me,” Jacquie said.
Even given the circumstances, Jacquie remains optimistic. On Tuesday evening, her family took Jacquie outside so she can do the ice bucket challenge.
Jennifer poured the water on Jacquie, then quickly wrapped her in dry towels to warm her up. Jacquie said it was cold.
“All she wants to do is make sure nobody else has to go through this, so I am proud of her,” Jennifer said.
So far, the ice bucket challenge has raised more than $22 million, which is $20 million more than this time last year.