The Ice Bucket Challenge

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ice water is "soaking" the nation.

It's all part of the ALS ice bucket challenge to raise money for research and bring awareness to Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is another name for amyotropic lateral sclerosis, a disease with no known cure. Baseball player Lou Gehrig revealed his diagnosis in 1939. The New York Yankees baseball great died of the disease at age 37 in 1941.

All over the country in the past two months, various celebrities, politicians, athletes and everyday Americans have taken the ice bucket challenge. It involves having a bucket of ice water dumped on one's head. Here's how it works: A participant records a video of themselves being doused with a bucket of ice-cold water.

The participant then challenges or nominates some other individual for the challenge. If the person called out for the challenge fails to accept within 24 hours, the person or persons are expected to donate $100 to an ALS organization. Some do the challenge and also make a donation.

One of the latest to take the challenge is former president George W. Bush. His wife Laura did the honors of dumping a laundry bucket of ice water over his head. Among others who have taken the dare are Dolly Parton, Oprah Winfrey, Ethel Kennedy, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey, Justin Bieber, golfers Tiger Woods and Rory Mcllroy, Texas Sen. Ted Crug, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, LaBron James, TV anchor Matt Lauer and Matt Damon.

Also taking the challenge were the Atlanta Falcons players, coaches and staff.

Those are just a handful of the participants who have helped raise an astonishing $41.8 million since July 29.

Over one million videos on Facebook have been shown between June 1 and Aug. 13 during the viral craze.

My daughter Judy Abbey of Paragould, along with several educators from Baldwin Elementary School, took the challenge last week. My daughter took the icy baptism in honor of my Aunt Mary Pride of Kennett, Mo., who died of ALS.

Persons with ALS lose control of voluntary muscle movement. They progressively lose the ability to eat, speak, walk and eventually breathe.

Who would have thought that drenching someone with ice water would raise millions for a worthy cause.