WESTFIELD, NJ — The Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral campaign to raise awareness and money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is sweeping the nation, and now it’s sweeping Westfield.
Councilman Mark LoGrippo posted a video on Facebook Sunday of himself taking a bucket of ice water to the head and challenging Mayor Andy Skibitsky, Councilman James Foerst and Councilman David Oliveira to do the same. Westfield Board of Education member Mitch Slater took the challenge, offered to him by Board of Ed member Lucy Biegler, and nominated the rest of the board:
Kids are getting in the act, too, bravely taking buckets of icy water for the cause then challenging their friends and family to do the same.
Those receiving the challenge are told they have 24 hours to give $100 to the ALS Association or dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, though many are choosing to do both.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has inspired unprecedented giving to ALS, according to the ALS Association. As of Sunday, the association said it had received $13.3 million in donations, compared to $1.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 17). These donations have come from existing donors as well as more than 259,500 new donors.
“When the Challenge first started, I was skeptical,” said Westfield resident Marc Herzog, whose friends doused him with a particularly large bucket of ice water. (See photo, above.) “But I've seen how much more money has been raised this year compared to the same time period last year, and it blew my mind. When I was challenged by my friend, it became an honor to do it. I also donated money to the cause.”
ALS is 100 percent fatal. People with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk and eventually breathe. To learn more about the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS, click here.
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