At this point, we’ve seen just about all the #ALSIceBucketChallenge videos one can ever imagine seeing – from CEOs to celebrities, to Korean idols and the world’s top DJs/producers, our favourite YouTubers, and even some Hong Kong superstars. Let’s just say that there are enough videos to last us a lifetime. But while we’re busy admiring our favourite media icons’ courage and humour, and applauding the most successful viral campaign of our time, have you ever considered the real deal?

No, we’re just not talking about Stephen Hawking alone.

Meet Anthony Carbajal, a licensed and insured full-time wedding photographer.

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Source: Huffington Post
Source: Huffington Post

We’ve seen some of his work and honestly, he takes some of the most beautiful engagement and wedding pictures. They say that a picture speaks a thousand words but every single one that he takes speak thousands and more. But he doesn’t do it anymore. For 6 whole months leading to 2014, Anthony noticed that his hands were becoming weaker and his arms had began twitching. He tried to tell himself that it was carpal tunnel and shook it off.

But deep down inside, he knew. He knew that it was ALS all along because it wasn’t uncommon in his family. Anthony’s mother was diagnosed about 10 years ago and his grandmother passed away from the disease when he was in high school. In fact, Anthony’s mother is the reason why he became a wedding photographer – because it gave him the ability to work from home and take care of her.

Anthony Carbajal
Source: Anthony Carbajal’s Facebook page

His dream got ripped away from him because he was diagnosed with ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s disease in January this year. Upon that confirmation, Anthony had to cancel 25 weddings and return about USD30,000 in deposits. He had to sell all his camera equipment to help refund all the brides. Meanwhile, his family is attempting to raise money to help pay for his future medical insurance/costs, as well as his business expenses and taxes.

Watch Anthony Carbajal’s heartbreaking #IceBucketChallenge video here, through the eyes of an actual person suffering from ALS real-time:

</span><span style="font-size: 13px;">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h07OT8p8Oik

As seen in the video above, he said that he has already started losing movement in his fingers. Eventually, just like other ALS patients, he will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, and breathe on his own. So yes, in his words, ALS is terrifying. Nobody likes to talk about it and nobody talks about it because it’s so challenging to see and to talk about.

Nobody wants to “see a depressing person that’s dying”.

Up until the day that a social media storm ensued, the only story that we knew of is Stephen Hawking’s ordeal with ALS. But even that happened before our time and probably is hard for anyone to relate to. Perhaps Anthony’s story can help heighten the level of awareness of this disease because it’s happening real time, with a video to tell his story.

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Source: Anthony Carbajal's Facebook page
Source: Anthony Carbajal’s Facebook page

More importantly, perhaps Anthony Carbajal’s story will inspire people to really help and not just for the sake of completing a challenge which involves dunking a bucket of ice/ice water over themselves.

Whether or not you get called out to take on the challenge, you can also make a donation to the ALS Association here. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the “failing to do the Ice Bucket Challenge within 24 hours penalty” aka USD100. Your donation of any amount will help the ALS Association‘s global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease.

For more information, visit Anthony Carbajal’s website or Facebook page. Go on, drop him an encouraging message or two.

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Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.