Happy 22nd birthday to my favorite twin sister, Sarah! I love you!

Happy 22nd birthday to my favorite twin sister, Sarah! I love you!

I see 22 everywhere I go, and tomorrow I’m turning 22… ๐Ÿ˜ณ #luckynumber #22 #elenabirthdaymonth2014

I see 22 everywhere I go, and tomorrow I’m turning 22… ๐Ÿ˜ณ #luckynumber #22 #elenabirthdaymonth2014

Watching Anthony Carbajalโ€™s now viral Youtube video has inspired me to accept the #ALSIceBucketChallenge; I was nominated by Jonny Strang. Link to the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h07OT8p8Oik .

ALS is a disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS has no cure, and people diagnosed with the disease are only given 3-5 years to live. Dumping a bucket of ice water on ourselves is meant to be an empathetic exercise in understanding the experience of living with ALS.

1. Yes, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge is making a difference. According to the ALS Association, over $31 million has been raised so far. Chief executive of ALS TDI says โ€œthe entire amount spent annually on ALS by the feds and charitable organizations like his is $80 millionโ€ (Forbes). Itโ€™s obvious how over $31 million is a significant contribution for research and patient care.

2. Even if people canโ€™t donate, simply completing the challenge and posting it on social media is raising awareness about a disease that is hardly talked about. Anthony Carbajal, from the viral video, has said that โ€œThis is the first successful advocacy [ALS has] ever reallyโ€ฆ had and Iโ€™m so, so, so grateful. You have no idea how every single challenge makes me feel, lifts my spirits, lifts every single ALS patientโ€™s spirits. Youโ€™re really, truly making a differenceโ€ (Huffington Post).

3. I know California is in the middle of a drought. Letโ€™s all cut our showers a couple minutes instead of complaining about people completing the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. โ€œItโ€™s for a great causeโ€ is an understatement.

To anybody who is living with or who has a family member living with ALS: I am in awe of you! You are amazing! Never stop fighting and find comfort in knowing that people all around the world are fighting to give you a higher quality of life.

With all of that being said, I nominate my mama, my friend @mirandacosgrove and my friend @Hellokatielee.

Hello, Los Angeles! I’m home! ๐Ÿ’‹๐ŸŒ‡

Hello, Los Angeles! I’m home! ๐Ÿ’‹๐ŸŒ‡

Walking up to Borghese Villa & Gardens with @sweetsaraho. Quite possibly my favorite moments in Rome. ๐ŸŒณ

Walking up to Borghese Villa & Gardens with @sweetsaraho. Quite possibly my favorite moments in Rome. ๐ŸŒณ

Rome is so beautiful! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฟ

Rome is so beautiful! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฟ

Roaming around Rome with @sweetsaraho ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ

Roaming around Rome with @sweetsaraho ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ

Roaming around Rome with @sweetsaraho ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ

Roaming around Rome with @sweetsaraho ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿƒ

Italian Summer Holidays ๐Ÿ‘ #ferragosto2014

Italian Summer Holidays ๐Ÿ‘ #ferragosto2014

…and Giolitti gelato again, of course! ๐Ÿฆ

…and Giolitti gelato again, of course! ๐Ÿฆ