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Ice bucket challenge a success for ALS Association

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Untitled-2Staff from Ennis Implement in Vandalia recently took on an ice bucket challenge from the Ronnie Heaton family.
They used a tractor for the challenge that was operated by Sonny McCurdy.
Ennis Implement has since challenged Jerry and Janet Epperson, Jordan and Kylie Epperson, and the office staff from Gentle Healthy Smiles.
Several Vandalia area residents have filmed themselves taking the challenge in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, several critics of the program have questioned just how much money has been raised to fight ALS, which is commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
According to the ALS website www.alsa.org, through Friday, August 29 the association has received more than $100 million with donations ranging from under $1 to $200,000.
The association raised just $2.8 million during the same period of July 29-August 29 in 2013.
“People have responded with such generosity it is truly remarkable and we couldn’t be more appreciative,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “These donations will truly help fuel our fight against ALS in ways that were never before possible…The word gratitude doesn’t do enough to express what we are feeling right now. We recognize a profound sense of urgency and are engaged in discussions about how we’re going to put this money to work in the short term and into the future.”
“These funds will be used to fund cutting-edge research as well as care and support to people living with the disease,” Newhouse added. “Now and in the coming weeks, we will be able to enhance our strategic plan, reformulating and recasting strategies with input from stakeholders, including our donors, our chapters, and most importantly, people living with ALS and their families. We want to move quickly but decisively as our ultimate goal is to use this incredible generosity in a way that has the biggest impact on fighting this disease.”
What sparked the challenge?
Pete Frates was a former captain for Boston College’s baseball team.
He gave several impassioned speeches, even in Washington D.C., but he didn’t feel enough was being done to fight the disease.
Frates was losing his voice but that didn’t stop him from marrying his wife just eight months after meeting her.
Almost confined to a wheelchair, he walked his wife Julie down the aisle after being pronounced husband and wife.
He learned earlier this year that he and his wife would be having a baby.

A baby girl was born this past Sunday night and was named “Lucy.”
Frates had learned about folks who were dumping buckets of ice water on their heads for a given charity from a friend.
Since he couldn’t do it himself, he asked others to do it like New England Patriots’ star Julian Edelman, the entire team, along with Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons.)
Then celebrities and families picked up the trend to where it has become a worldwide phenomenon as a viral sensation.
On August 14, Frates had the chance to take the challenge on the outfield at Fenway Park.
And the rest they say is history…
What is ALS?
According to the ALS website, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.