Screw the Ice Bucket: "Kickstart" Fund ALS Short Film, Earn Miami Heat Tickets

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have been nothing but clips of people dumping precious water all over themselves in the name of keyboard activism. It's been a fun and perhaps slightly irresponsible way to get the word out about a deadly disease, but it can be easy to forget how real the terror is.

To fight that complacency, one brave Miamian living with ALS wants to bring the issue closer to home. He teamed up with his friends at the ALS Recovery Fund, 305 Films, and the Miami Heat to star in a creative, uplifting, and true-to-fantasy short film.

The Borscht Film Festival has agreed to premiere it, but they still need a little help from you. Get involved, and you could earn some Heat tickets and player memorabilia, no ice bucket involved.

See also: Nine Epic Miami Heat Murals in the Magic City

Jeff Fogel has dedicated his life to basketball. He's helped coach the ladies of the Michael Ann Russell JCC Summer Camp to victory since his teenage years. Now in his early 40s, he continues to coach his loving team of young women, but he's forced to do it from a wheelchair. About three years ago, he was diagnosed with ALS, but throughout, he's remained positive and inspired with his coaching as his "medicine."

Fogel's story is heart-warming if not a bit of a tear-jerker, and Miami's ALS Recovery Fund -- dedicated to helping locals with ALS keep hope alive and live to enjoy another day -- reached out to him to tell his story. Fogel in turn reached out to his best buddy of more than 20 years, award-winning director Gil Green at 305 Films.

"Jeff's story actually resonates with me because I went through a similar experience with my father," Green says. His dad, who also dedicated his life to Miami and basketball, was diagnosed with MSA, a neural disease quite similar to ALS without a cure. Green lived with his father and helped him every step of the way until his unfortunate passing two years ago.

"He was probably in his late 50s when he was diagnosed, and he had it for about seven years," Green says. "I know what the process is for someone that's going through those physical changes."

Maybe the constant social reminder is annoying you, but that's nothing compared to the way ALS takes over its victim's lives. Colloquially known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS destroys the nervous system and completely degrades the body until a patient can't even breathe. There is no cure for ALS and while there are drugs, there's not much in the way of treatment.

The average life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years, but there's always hope.

"While my dad had that disease, I was always thinking in the back of my head 'what is my dad thinking?'" Green says. "How does an athlete, a guy who's been an athlete his whole life, challenge himself to do simple daily things?"

That thought returned with Fogel's diagnoses, and therein lays the heart of the creative message behind Who Is Lou Gehrig?

The 12- to 15-minute film won't be a sappy downer.

"I come from the most creative end of the film world, which is experimental music videos, where we can have fun," Green says. "Instead of doing a documentary on Jeff, which is cool but Channel 6 is doing that when they do a report about him, let's go into a world of fantasy. Let's see what's in his head and how he gets by every day."

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Kat Bein is a freelance writer and has been described as this publication’s "senior millennial correspondent." She has an impressive, if unhealthy, knowledge of all things pop culture.

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