Everyone is doing it. The ice bucket challenge is a viral sensation sweeping our nation, but all the fun has a very serious reality.
KENNEWICK, WA - Everyone is doing it. The ice bucket challenge is a viral sensation sweeping our nation, but all the fun has a very serious reality.
As people get doused with icy water they're raising funds for ALS research. Julio Aleman from Kennewick says seeing so many people take on a challenge to support research for his disease is amazing. Today some locals even took on the challenge in honor of him and the fight he refuses to give up on.
"I feel normal. I feel like the disease doesn't bother me, but at the same time I see the results," explained Aleman.
It's debilitating. He's able to move around in his electric wheelchair but even during our interview not being able to move his hands meant his wife stood by helping as she does with almost everything.
"I depend so much on my son and my wife all the time for every single little detail, everything."
"Seeing how he was before this disease got to him has been devastating to all of us, the community, his family, his friends," explained Jazmin Santa Cruz, a family friend.
Over at Anderson Law they took the challenge today in honor of Julio. He's a previous client and friend of Santa Cruz who works at the office.
"We're able to raise awareness beyond just having a bucket of ice dumped on our heads, but really for the local community that surrounds us that we know somebody personally that is going through this," said Santa Cruz.
Even watching as his own sons take the challenge in his honor reminds him of all the things he used to be able to do, but can't.
"Makes me feel like, guilty. You feel like, I wish I could do that."
While the cause of ALS is still somewhat of a mystery, we know it stops the body from functioning over time and eventually leads to death. Julio tells NBC Right Now he's still living for love, for hope and for family and as long as he has that he's ok.
"I'm still fighting for it. Right to the end I see, maybe I'm going to get cured or maybe I'm going to die happy."
Julio hopes that all of the attention and the amazing surge in donations toward research might result in a cure. For now he says he's just thankful for what he has.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:32 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:32:13 GMT
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