INDIANAPOLIS --- George Dye and his wife Carol are big Colts fans. They live in an apartment in Indianapolis, after moving out of their larger home to take better care of George. He has ALS. He has been living with the effects of it for about 18 months.
At age 69, the neurological disease is deteriorating George's muscle mass, making it impossible for him now to pick up a wrench, tie his shoes, or pick up a can of soda with his left arm. As his muscle mass shrinks, he must wear more clothing. Even on this hot August day when he spoke with Colts.com, George wears a long-sleeve thermal shirt under his Colts t-shirt, because without much muscle left, his body is cold.
There is no cure for ALS, the disease often nicknamed Lou Gehrig's Disease after the great New York Yankees baseball player, and patients have generally been given only two to five years to live after being diagnosed.
"In the beginning, it was difficult," George said sitting in his recliner last week, fighting back tears, but now he has been energized...thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge.
As he was asked what he thought about seeing his favorite Colts players take the challenge, his words were defeated by shear joy and laughter. "That blew my mind," George said with a huge smile, laughing again at the thought of players like Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, and Pat McAfee dumping water on their heads and donating to the disease George is fighting.
"We were ChuckStrong. Now, we're ColtsStrong and ALS Strong," said George's wife Carol Dye. "We both were like, 'Wow!'"
According to Forbes.com, more than $100 million has been donated to ALS in about a month, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, compared to about $3 million in that same span a year ago. However, there have still been some who have criticized the Ice Bucket Challenge, calling it a "gimmick", "slacktivism", and saying it calls more attention to social media videos than the cause.
Tell that to the people like George Dye who have been fighting ALS, a disease that has not seen much progress since Lou Gehrig told fans he was the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. The Ice Bucket Challenge has given them hope.
"Can you imagine what they're going to be able to do?" asked Carol. "There is hope at the end of this tunnel. I hope it's not too late for us, but there is hope."
And hope is a very powerful feeling. Just ask George and Carol Dye.