In The Know

Texan tackles tricky tongue twister for #TheEllieChallenge

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is getting tongue-tied, and advocates working to raise awareness about a rare disease are hoping more lawmakers will join in on a daunting articulation challenge.

In a recently posted video on his Facebook page, Cornyn, the Senate majority whip, is seen attempting to say the word “Leukoencephalopathy-LBSL,” a rare and fatal brain disease.

{mosads}“Leukoenceph — it’s hard,” Cornyn says, before several more futile endeavors.

The senator’s bungled effort to say the name of the degenerative brain and spinal cord mitochondrial disease is part of a campaign called #TheEllieChallenge, inspired by 8-year-old Ellie McGinn.

The Arlington, Va., resident — who’s mom, Beth, worked on the Hill for 15 years and was a senior adviser and spokeswoman for Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) — is urging friends, supporters, celebrities and more lawmakers to draw attention to her incredibly rare disease, with fewer than 100 cases worldwide, by taking the challenge themselves.

The challenge works by participants trying to say the name of the almost-impossible-to-pronounce disease, Leukoencephalopathy. Those who can’t say it are asked to donate money to help find a cure. But the silver-tongued few who can spit out the super tricky word can help try to come up with a new name for the disease on McGinn’s website,

Now, McGinn’s family and supporters are hoping the challenge catches on with not only more lawmakers, but also more people everywhere.

“Disease is an awful word, and too many diseases have awful names,” McGinn’s website states. “Starting with Ellie’s disease, let’s change that!”

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