Youngstown Diocese calls for ALS donation discretion


POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown Diocese Bishop George Murry said he has no problem with the ice bucket challenge in support of ALS, but he is encouraging Catholics to be specific with their donations.

Donating specifically to someone with ALS is what the Diocese of Youngstown is encouraging people to do.

Holy Family School in Poland accepted the challenge on Tuesday and is following Murry’s advice by donating proceeds from its event to retired Boardman teacher Christine Terlesky. The school has held fundraisers for Terlesky in the past, including a golf outing and a dinner.

“We like to support the local people and the local fundraisers,” Holy Family principal Kathleen Stoops said.

Fifteen Holy Family teachers took the ice bucket challenge, with one bucket of ice water for each of them.

Stoops was challenged by a first grader and a teacher and recruited other teachers to do the challenge. They went for the one at a time approach instead of one big dump and they’re challenging the staff at St. Charles in Boardman.

“Christine Terlesky is a very close family friend and the children here have supported her once she was diagnosed with ALS,” Holy Family teacher Marilyn Hammerton said.

Some of the students have never met Terlesky, but feel a connection. One eighth-grader’s grandmother died from ALS.

“The ALS disease shuts down the nervous system and nobody wants to go through that, so I thought this would be a really cool way to help the cause,” student JP Yerian said.

In addition to donating to individuals with ALS, the Catholic Church also encourages donating to organizations that do adult stem cell research, not embryonic.

“The Catholic Church teaches that every embryonic stem cell is valuable and should not be used in any way that is disrespectful or destroyed,” Bishop Murry said.

The Diocese of Youngstown said it wants to see a cure for ALS. It lost one of its own to the disease, Fr. Brad Helman.

The  Catholic Diocese of Cincinnati isn’t allowing its schools to do the ice bucket challenge because the ALS Association funds embryonic stem cell research.

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