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Fighting two diseases

Posted: August 14, 2014 5:30 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Two horrific diseases have been brought into the spotlight recently -- ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which has caught the public eye through an “ice bucket challenge,” and depression, brought into further consciousness through the tragic suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams. Attention in such matters is always beneficial, both in terms of raising money to fight the diseases and in making Americans more aware of the challenges of such maladies.

The ice bucket challenge illustrates the power of social media; it was begun in Maine and has spread throughout the nation. People dump a bucket of ice water on their heads and donate money to fight ALS, and many celebrities have joined in the effort. More than $1 million was raised in the first few days, and the effort has been extended. Some have criticized the project as being a bit too flippant and not focusing enough on ALS, but we believe that anything which draws attention to the dread disease is beneficial. The incurable muscular disease slowly robs people of their ability to function and eventually leads to death.

Depression is a disorder that for too long has been swept under the rug, like many conditions affecting the mind more than the body. Williams had fought it for years, along with substance abuse, and finally gave in through suicide. The more knowledgeable Americans become about the travails of depression, the better off the country will be.

Science has come far in treating many diseases, but there is far to go. These two maladies are prime examples. We hope the attention brought through the ice bucket challenge and Williams’ suicide will spur further efforts to fight ALS and depression.


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