It started when I saw a video on Facebook of one of my friends dumping a bucket of ice water on her head.

“For ALS!” she said. My heart jumped and my stomach turned.

ALS is something that I have been trying to run away from since I was 15 years old. Yet here was this girl just “throwing around” those three letters so casually. Those three letters changed my life. Those three letters took my father away from me forever.

I spent the next few days thinking about this ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. All these people, friends, family and celebrities taking the challenge and/or donating money to the cause. Lubavitchers taking the challenge for Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz (may he have a speedy recovery!). And here I was, sitting in Hong Kong, with my father’s 9th yahrtzeit coming up, without my siblings and my mother nearby, trying to find a way to get through it.

I spoke with my husband, Mendy, and he told me that the challenge had raised millions of dollars for the cure. This got me thinking . . . The Ice Bucket Challenge is raising awareness of this dreadful disease. If I would have told someone four months ago that my father had passed away from ALS, they would have asked me to repeat it and to explain what it was.

So, on a sunny and humid Sunday morning, I went to the store to buy a bag of ice. When Mendy came home, I told him that I would like to do the Ice Bucket Challenge in my own way. He readily agreed.

Mendy set up the camera and I began to talk. I did it for me, really, and for my family, so they would have something nice for my father’s yahrtzeit. I spoke from the heart. I was honest. Real.

A few hours later, e‑mails, messages and calls started pouring in. People were inspired by the video.

People I didn’t know thanked me for doing this, and then told me their stories as well—their pain and suffering, or the suffering of a family member or a friend. They thanked me and told me how they’ve now reached out to those who are in need, because sometimes it’s easy to forget. They thanked me for giving them strength through their hardships.

I was astonished by the amount of support I received. I had never imagined it and I never expected it. I had created this video to give me solace, yet many people told me it gave them solace as well.

So thank you. Thank you for your messages, e‑mails and phone calls. Thank you for your emotional support in helping me through my father’s yahrtzeit when I was far away from my family—or so I thought. What I have learned from this experience is that every single Jew is my brother and sister. I have felt it and I have seen it.

To my family from around the world and from all walks of life, thank you.