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Social Media Craze Raising Awareness for ALS

(WGGB/AP) — If you are on a social networking site recently, you may have heard of the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” It involves people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, on video, and posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same.

The initiative has blossomed over the last several days, after friends and family of former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates started it to raise awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease,.

Frates was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease back in 2012.

The movement also helps raise money for research funding.

This will in turn help people like Linda Bennett, of Wilbraham.

“L-I-N-D-A.” Linda attempts to spell her name one letter at a time.

Her name is Linda Bennett from Wilbraham. Sitting beside is her husband Dave Bennett.

“We’ve been together for almost 55 years. We grew up together. I was 15, she was 13,” Dave says.

Linda’s been living with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, for over seven years now. Difficulty swallowing and speaking were her first symptoms, then it progressively got worse.

“She hasn’t walked in three years,” says Dave.

There are a lot of unknowns with ALS and few advances in treatment. But that hasn’t stopped the Bennett’s from enjoying each day together.

“she dresses up every day; puts a dress on,” Dave explains, adding, “If you have the mental toughness, it’ll carry you a long way. A lot of people quit on it. We chose to fight.”

With the support of Desiree Mann and other home health aides, Linda is able to get in a car and run errands, maintain her beautiful garden.

“10 bags of mulch down, Linda tells us where to plant it.”

They live what they like to call a “normal” life, with adjustments.

Linda’s not in pain, just uncomfortable and overwhelmed by frustration at times. It’s a constant battle for one thing:

“Independence, she’s always fighting for independence.”

If you would like to help, you can CLICK HERE to donate to ALS Association, or CLICK HERE to donate to the Pete Frates #3 Fund.

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