Sunday, 31 August 2014

Articles The Project: Torchwood ALS Ice Bucket Challengers

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – We Did It!
DJ Forrest, Mickie Newton, John Bond-Winstone & Echo Fain

‘DJ, Head of Project: Torchwood.  Outside the TV and beyond the Web.
Joining the human race to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.
The twenty-first century is where changes are made
And Project: Torchwood is ready!’

Yep, that was my speech before a bucket of ice and cold water was tipped over my head for the #ALSIceBucketChallenge on 24th August 2014.  I had other words to say but funnily enough, gasping like a fish out of water, trying to think straight isn’t the easiest after an experience like that.  But then there’s also a reason why the ice bucket challenge was set up.  A person who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease has trouble breathing, towards the later stages of the disease, so the ice bucket challenge gives the contestant if you will, that same weird feeling of coldness, shock and inability to function.  Only your experience lasts mere seconds compared to a sufferer of MND. 

There is no cure for Motor Neurone Disease at the moment, but the challenge helps make people aware of it, and to donate. 

Despite the chill of the ice and cold water I am actually proud of myself.  I helped to raise awareness, we all did, every one of us who accepted the challenge.  It was fun.  And we hope that everyone reading this will either accept their challenges with grace, or donate, as although there is no cure yet, perhaps with the research, one day there will be, and we just have to have faith. 

In America, the ALS charity has raised over $100million.  We decided to do our challenge for the UK charity (MND) because our graphics artist, writer and PR, Mickie Newton knows only too well about the disease. 

Here’s Mickie's story:
When I first started to see all the #IceBucketChallenge videos for #ALS I had no clue what it was. So I decided to look it up. It was obviously important as it had gone viral. ALS is for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease, so named after the baseball player. I read on and discovered in the UK we know it as something else. Here it is #MND or Motor Neurone Disease; if you visit the MND Associations web page you will discover that ALS and MND is the same thing.

Once I discovered what ALS was, it became personal. 15 years ago Robert Newton, at just 65 years old, died of this awful disease. Robert, or Bob as he was better known by, was my great uncle on my mother’s side; he was also her favourite uncle, with just 16 years between them. I remember him both as he was before MND took hold of him, a warm, strong and funny man, and after it had ravaged his body to someone who needed 24 hour care, who couldn't speak, feed himself and so forth.

Until this 'craze' started few people knew about it and very little research done to find out more about the disease and how to maybe find a cure. Now ALS and MND are on everybody's lips and people are now becoming more aware of what it is and how cruel and unforgiving this disease is. And hopefully from this, those that be will decide to do more research and hopefully find a cure.
There are those out there who are fed up with all these videos and have even taken to the internet to vent their anger, saying that celebrities are only doing this to pump up their ego's. Well to them I give you a message...

In the words of the 12th Doctor...Shut up! You obviously don't know someone who is suffering from MND or who has died from it and if you do, you should know better and sympathise and rejoice in the amount of publicity this disease is receiving. I don't care about a celebrity's motivation behind their actions; I only care that NOW people know what this disease is and that MAYBE some more research will be done instead of putting it at the back of the queue as if sufferers and their loved ones don't matter. So do something useful with your computer and make a donation to either the MND Association in the UK or the ALS Association in the US.

Thank you for reading
Mickie Newton aka Toshiko

John also took the challenge, (nominated by Mickie)

Well I accepted the challenge because I felt it was a worthy cause that needs to have attention.  The challenge also made you feel what it can be like to have the treatment that is given to patients who have ALS/MND.
For me, some, who did the challenge, were just jumping on the bandwagon and not promoting what it is about so I wanted to actually promote a worthwhile cause.

John Bond-Winstone aka The Doctor

To donate or get involved in the Ice Bucket Challenge for UK you can find out more here.

For the US event you can find out more here.

Go on, do it, it’s just water...and ICE!  And if you are worried about wasting water, then be sure that if you do plan to jump in a river or watercourse, or even the sea, that you have someone with you for safety reasons. Don’t just opt to jump in with no idea what lies beneath the water.  Be safe!


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