With all the attention the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is receiving this past week, it is a good time to share with you the most touching and most important presentation I saw at TEDxTokyo back in May of this year. The presentation was by a young Japanese man named Hiro Fujita. In November of 2010, Hiro was working happily as Planning Director at McCann Erickson in Tokyo when he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). His TEDxTokyo talk is his story and a moving call to action.
Perhaps we throw around the word "inspiring" too much. But Hiro inspires me...and thousands of others. After Hiro's talk in Tokyo, which was voiced largely by his boss Dave McCaughan, I felt an odd mix of inspiration from Hiro's courage and spirit but also sadness at the great difficulties he faces everyday just to survive. "I am 99% grateful for all that has happened in my life," Hiro says, "but 1% angry." Hiro is angry at the disease and at the government regulations which are slow and burdensome. His END ALS movement is taking concrete measures to make a difference. As Dave McCaughan said in the TEDx talk, "The END ALS movement is about getting the government and medical authorities to realize the desire and the need of the people who have this terrible, terrible disease to help solve this problem themselves." Hiro's story and the END ALS movement are important. Please watch Hiro's story below. And please pass on his video to others.
Please share Hiro's story
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is admirable. It's good that so many people are getting into the spirit about raising awareness of ALS, and making a donation. The videos I have seen are all well-intentioned, but many videos—including those by celebrities—often do not educate the viewer much at all about what ALS is or how we can help. Please do not misunderstand: the bucket challenge is a very good effort and it has indeed thus far raised millions of dollars. That's all good. I have been "called out" to do the bucket challenge and I have made a donation in response. Sometimes, though, the spectacle of pouring water over one's head can take away from the actual issue. (Besides, me pouring cold water over my head in the sultry weather we have here in Japan is hardly a challenge—it would simply be refreshing. Instead, please watch Hiro take the challenge here.) However, instead of pouring water over my head—which would not be interesting to anyone—I do have a challenge for you of a different sort: First, would you please share Hiro's TEDxTokyo talk with your own network? Second, please go to the END ALS website and checkout the important work they are doing. You can donate there directly and donate by purchasing an "END ALS" t-shirt as well. And read Hiro's blog too.
Hiro lost his voice, but not his will to communicate and to make a positive impact in the world. Hiro's friends and coworkers have rallied around him to help him start a movement and to make a difference. Let's all be at least a small part of it. Thank you.
• END ALS website
• Donate to the END ALS movement
• END ALS Store
• END ALS Facebook page
• Hiro Fujita's blog
• ALS Association (donate)