The popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge reached a throng of Urbana locals this summer and even prompted Frederick County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Terry Alban to be doused in ice water on Aug. 20 at Tuscarora High School.
“I was surprised by the excitement of the students who wanted to see me take the challenge. Their energy and support was contagious!” Alban said. “Who did I challenge? I asked FCPS students to learn from the ice bucket challenge — to see what happens when people care deeply about a cause and are committed to making a difference. I challenged every FCPS student to find a cause that inspired their own passion this year and to work hard to make a difference. I also stated that I hoped it would be an FCPS graduate who found the cure for ALS.”
The challenge was started by friends of Pete Frates, a former Division 1 college baseball star who was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often know as Lou Gehrig’s disease), in 2012. He chose to become very proactive to fight the disease and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for ALSA.org, through sporting events, run/walk events and celebrity galas. His ice bucket challenge video went viral and has been the most successful fundraiser to date. The idea is to either get doused with water or donate to ALSA, but many people did both.
“This is a creative way to spread ALS awareness via social media and in communities nationwide,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of ALSA.
In the first two weeks of August 2013, almost $2 million was raised for the association. During the same two weeks this year, approximately $16 million was raised, mostly from new donors and from the Ice Bucket Challenge. At press time, donations to ALSA reached $88.5 million through the ice bucket challenge.
Many celebrities got creative and made entertaining videos, which can be seen at www.alsa.org. FaceBook creator Mark Zuckerberg challenged Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, who took it a step further and appeared to design his own contraption to dump the bucket. Dave Grohl, of the band Foo Fighters, re-created the famous prom scene from the movie Carrie and called out Steven King to take the challenge. Sports teams, musicians, and TV and movie celebrities enthusiastically took part in the fundraiser.
In Urbana, videos were posted daily for weeks and included Urbana Middle School physical education teacher Patricia Hoover, who accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge during a family vacation in Ocean City. Urbana High School sophomore Natalie Wiley took the ice bucket challenge with help from her teenage brother, Charlie.
“Who wouldn’t want to pour water over their sister’s head?!” said Nancy Wiley, their mother.
Another Urbana resident, Terri Beach, also participated in the ice bucket challenge, with the help of her husband, Pete, and daughter Kasey, who is in fifth grade at Centerville Elementary School.
Frederick County Executive candidate, Jan Gardner, also accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge at a recent fundraising event.
For more information, visit www.alsa.org, www.petefrates.com, or the Team Frate Train or ALS Association Facebook pages.