Jimmy Fallon has offered some hope and laughter to a Madison, Connecticut, firefighter who is currently battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS. Amanda Bernier, who has been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of the disease, was diagnosed in March 2014, two weeks after discovering she was pregnant. Jimmy Fallon was the comedian Bernier watched regularly while she was in the hospital, and she is now calling The Tonight Show host out with her own Ice Bucket Challenge.
Prior to her diagnosis, Bernier was a marathon runner and volunteer firefighter. By November 2014, when she gave birth to a very healthy baby girl named Arabella Grace, she was wheelchair bound. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that results in the deterioration of motor neurons. Bernier has been a longtime fan of Jimmy Fallon, and her husband, Chris, who is EMS director of Madison Emergency Medical Services, says that they had watched Jimmy Fallon since his days on Saturday Night Live.
Chris and Amanda had planned on going to see The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but now that Amanda is wheelchair bound and on a ventilator, such a trip is effectively impossible. Amanda notes that it is because of Jimmy Fallon that she is able to go to sleep laughing every night.
“We chose to focus on the positive things throughout this experience,” Chris said.
On August 26, WVIT reporter Abbey Niezgoda met with Chris and Amanda to help them get noticed by Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show staffers. According to the Shoreline Times, Amanda sent them an email saying that “they (NBC) showed up at (their) door wanting to help (her) to get Jimmy Fallon to do the IBC.”
It’s a definite bonus for the Bernier family and the charitable movement founded in her name, Amanda’s Angels. The organization has set as its goal to “put our hearts together and be with them on the road” during their journey through ALS. The Berniers and Amanda’s Angels are hopeful that Jimmy Fallon will respond to the Ice Bucket Challenge, now in its second year after going viral last year.
While Jimmy Fallon has not apparently responded yet to Amanda Bernier’s Ice Bucket Challenge, Amanda has said that she does not see herself as being particularly newsworthy. She is hopeful that Jimmy Fallon will accept her challenge but said that she is “just another person going through life.”
To date, over $100 million has been raised to fight ALS. Amanda Bernier is hopeful that by the time her daughter is older, there will be a cure for the disease. Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon, she is calling you out!
[Photo courtesy of gofundme.com]