YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – You can’t scroll through social media sites without seeing something about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People everywhere are dumping buckets of freezing water on their heads. The challenge is raising awareness and funds for ALS nationwide and here in the Valley.
Mary Wheelock, executive director of ALS Northern Ohio Chapter, said she never imagined there would be so much support for ALS from celebrities to everyday people.
Friday evening, Sports Reporter Josh Frketic was challenged by community members to do the Ice Bucket Challenge and got doused live on our 6 p.m. newscast.
“I just feel fantastic and it is really cold, bit it is okay,” Josh said.
Many people had no idea what ALS was until the Ice Bucket Challenge. There are now 200,000 new donors. The association just hit the $10 million dollar mark nationwide.
“There are roughly 50 individuals in the Youngstown area living with ALS at any given time. It doesn’t seem like a very big number, but it can cost up to $200,000 a year to care for a person living with ALS,” Wheelock said.
Money raised will help with equipment costs, caregivers and finding a cure.
The challenge, if you accept, only takes a few seconds, so there’s no threat of hypothermia.
“You have to be in ice water for a good ten minutes and not just your head or your foot or your arm. Your body has to be submerged to have some kind of hypothermic experience,” said Dr. Lolita McDavid, UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
After Josh’s dousing, he threw out the Ice Bucket Challenge to Reporter Cory Froomkin, Youngstown Mayor John McNally and Western Reserve Football Coach Andy Hake.
According to the ALS Associations website, 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.
For more information about the Ice Bucket Challenge or to donate, click here.