ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Inspires Hope for American Career College Faculty Member and Her Family

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Judi Hubbard has cared for numerous ALS patients in her career as a physical therapist and now it will be a labor of love for her husband Tom, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2012. Their Ice Bucket Challenge video inspired ACC to make a $2,500 donation to the ALS Association in support of the Inland Empire Walk to Defeat ALS.

Our hope has been fully recharged and renewed by this overwhelming response to the ‘ice bucket challenge’ to defeat ALS

American Career College faculty member Judi Hubbard, MSPT has enjoyed a successful career as a physical therapist and educator; she joined the academic team at the Orange County campus and played a vital role in launching the new Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program. Earlier this year she informed campus leaders that she needed to scale back her obligations to part-time because her family is facing a daunting challenge: her husband Tom was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2012 and the disease is progressing to the point where she needs to spend more time caring for him at home.

“As a physical therapist who has treated ALS patients in the past, I know what lies ahead for my family. ALS eventually robs the body of the ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe.” Judi said.

ALS is a lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. There is no cure, but a recent online phenomenon is providing inspiration and hope to families like the Hubbards who are dealing with an ALS diagnosis. For the past couple of weeks the Internet has been inundated with videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves after celebrities and politicians started participating in the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise money for the ALS Association (ASLA).

“Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO. “We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support. To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in ten and twenty years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS.”

Fueled by the power of social media, the effort has raised more than $70 million in donations to-date, according to the ALSA website. During the same time period last year the ASLA raised just $2.5 million through fundraising efforts; the surge in financial support is vital to research programs focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for ALS. It is also giving hope to people fighting the disease.

“Our hope has been fully recharged and renewed by this overwhelming response to the ‘ice bucket challenge’ to defeat ALS,” Judi said.

“Living with ALS, I’ve tried to keep hope in my back pocket,” Tom said. “I am thankful that my progression with the disease has been slower than the norm. The ice bucket challenge has been a source of wonderful inspiration for all of us.”

ACC Responds to Ice Bucket Challenge
The Hubbards did their own ice bucket challenge video with their son Scott, and in response to their video challenge, American Career College is making a $2,500 donation to the ALS Association in support of the Inland Empire Walk to Defeat ALS taking place on Sunday, October 12. The Hubbard family is participating.

“I offer my heartfelt appreciation to Judi Hubbard for her service to American Career College. Her passion for the field of physical therapy and many years of experience in patient care contributed to the successful launch of our PTA program,” said ACC President Tom McNamara. “She is an inspiration to our students, demonstrating the compassion that good patient care requires.”

Sadly, this is not the first time ALS has impacted the ACC community. Longtime nursing faculty member Kathy Scholze, RN, who served as Assistant Director of Nursing at the Orange County campus for several years, was diagnosed with ALS and was forced to retire as the disease took hold. Today, she is fighting for her life.

“Kathy is missed dearly at the OC campus and she is an amazing person, surrounded by a strong group of family and friends to support her,” said Susan Pailet, ACC Vice President of Student Success. “ACC also wants to honor Kathy with this donation to the ALS Association in support of the Walk to Beat ALS.”

American Career College and its Founder David Pyle have a legacy of supporting ALS-related nonprofit organizations including the ALS Association and Auggie’s Quest.

Impact on Veterans    
In their video, the Hubbards included a special message to veterans of U.S. Armed Forces – they hope the online movement will help generate awareness to the many veterans impacted by ALS. It is not clear to the medical community why, but American veterans are twice as likely to die from ALS as those who have not served. Tom Hubbard served in the U.S. Navy during the end of the Vietnam War attached to the First Marine Air Wing. He was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, which is the second most common geographical area of people who develop ALS.

“The ALS Association has championed efforts for veterans impacted by ALS and played a prominent role in bringing the situation to the attention of Congress,” Judi said. “In 2011 the Veteran’s Administration took action and ALS became categorized as a service-related disability, which means that veterans with the disease would get one-hundred-percent covered by VA benefits.”

“The VA support has truly been the silver lining to the cloud of ALS hanging over me,” Tom said.

For more information about the ALS Association or the Walk to Defeat ALS on taking place on October 12, visit

About The ALS Association
The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig ’s disease on every front. By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about The ALS Association, visit

About ACC
Founded over 35 years ago, American Career College has grown to meet the demand for highly skilled health care employees across a broad spectrum of disciplines. ACC offers a total of 14 unique health care training programs at five locations in California. ACC also offers a no-cost High School Equivalency (HSE) Preparation Program designed to help members of the communities served by the school achieve their goals in life. ACC cannot guarantee employment. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing programs, and other important information, visit

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