ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Poignant video shows paralysed man taking part
David Kurt McClain has been living with ALS for 12 years
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Tuesday 19 August 2014
Possibly the most poignant ice bucket challenge to date comes from David Kurt McClain, a man who has been suffering with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for over a decade.
The ice-bucket challenge has spurred celebrities such as Bill Clinton and Cara Delevingne to film themselves as ice is chucked over them to raise money for ALS research, but Mr McClain, of News Haven, Connecticut, is the first person with the disease to participate.
ALS is a debilitating condition affecting the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons degenerate and die which makes it increasingly difficult to move muscles.
Explaining his decision to undertake the challenge using an eye-scan machine, Mr McClain said: “I am paralysed from my shoulders down. I cannot speak, nor can I eat or drink. I am fed through a feeding tube. I cannot breathe without assistance of a ventilator.
“But as bad as that sounds, I am able to keep a positive attitude with the help of my family, my friends and the good Lord today.”
Mr McClain's then wife then poured ice in the shape of Texas over his head, paying homage to his native state.
Read more: Ice bucket challenge: What is ALS?
A GoFundMe page set up by his Mr McClain’s son-in-law explains that David has already defied the life expectancy of those living with the disease by three times.
He explains: “David had participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to not only spread awareness but to ask the public to show their support through donations as well.”
“With enough support and donations, we can eventually find a cure! Our ultimate goal is to get an ALS van that will allow David to get going and get moving!”
He described his father-in-law as "the most positive individual I have ever met”.
The family are hoping to raise enough money to purchase an ALS van to help Mr McClain become more mobile.
The ALS Association announced on Sunday it has received $13.3 million (£8 million) in donations from over 250,000 people compared to $1.7 million during the same three-week period last year (29 July to 17 August).
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