Local woman battling ALS grateful for Ice Bucket Challenge

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. - Officials with the ALS Association have publicaly thanked thousands who have taken the "Ice Bucket Challenge," for supporting their charity this summer. As of Thursday, the ALS Association had received $94.3 million dollars as compared $2.7 million the charity had raised at this point last year.

Channel 4's Ashley Mitchem spoke to a local woman battling ALS, about the disease and how thankful she is that ALS has received so much attention over the last few months.

Tiffany Dooling, 34, is a Clay High School graduate, former teacher, a wife and a mother of two young children. She was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.

"He wasn't even 2, and I was just rocking him and thinking am I ever going to see him walk. But he is in kindergarten and it's amazing," said Dooling.

ALS is a devastating progressive neuromuscular disease. It's characterized by a degeneration of motor cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness and, as the disease progresses, severe impairment of mobility, speech, swallowing and respiratory function.

"All this attention the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought and I'm so thankful. Whether people realize it or not or understand the devastation of the disease, it isn't just this hidden thing anymore, and I'm thankful for that," said Dooling.

Dooling hopes to defy the odds and is thankful for support from friends, family and her former students.

"When you have 19-year-olds giving you $75 and $100, it's just amazing. It's so touching to me that a kid I taught in 10th grade wants to give," Dooling said. "I mean, that's gas money and all kinds of stuff when you are 19."

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