WEST ORANGE, NJ - For the past several days, Facebook, Instagrams and Twitter have been abuzz with scores West Orange residents and their videos of their "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge". This viral phenomenon has now hit new heights as Mayor Rob Parisi good-naturedly challenged West Orange residents to dump buckets of ice water on themselves to raise funding and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."
I was happy to participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge," said Mayor Parisi, who was challenged by town councilman Victor Cirilo.
“Thank you to Councilman Victor Cirilo for nominating me to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” Parisi said. “I nominate the residents of West Orange and encourage them to contribute and help raise awareness.”
Parisi continued, "It is a great cause and anything that inspires a lot of people to get involved is a good thing. It shows that a lot of good can come from the power of social media. I challenged the whole town simply as a reminder of how important it is for all of us, as people, to be engaged in one way or another."
Parisi is making his own donation on behalf of himself and his family.
The purpose of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise awareness for ALS. People record themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads as they challenge someone else. Most of the kids in town have been challenging three of their friends as they are filmed.
"Lou Gehrig played alongside Babe Ruth for 2,632 consecutive games," said Victor Cirilo. "He went without a day off until he found out he had this disease, and died less than two years after his forced retirement."
According to the ALS Foundation, "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," 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."
Since July 29, the organization has received $5.5 million dollars compared to $32,000 at the same time last year.
"We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.
"Many hands make light work," said Mayor Parisi, "and small support from many people, can literally change the world."