NBC and COLlive
If you’ve logged onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram this week, chances are your newsfeeds have been flooded with videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads.
No, your friends aren’t doing this to cool down from hot summer temperatures. The challenge is a viral movement called the “Ice Bucket Challenge” designed to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The challenge started in Massachusetts with former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2012. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness, loss of the use of arms and legs and difficulty speaking, breathing and swallowing.
Frates, who can no longer speak, posted his own ice bucket challenge video and dared a few people to try it. A social media firestorm ensued, extending well beyond the gates of Boston College.
After posting their ice bucket videos to social media, participants nominate others to take the plunge and keep the cycle going. If those challenged don’t accept within 24 hours, they’re asked to donate to ALS research or to the charity of their choice.
Challenge accepted or not, donations have been pouring in. According to The ALS Association spokeswoman Carrie Munk, the organization has collected $1.35 million from July 29 to Aug. 11. That’s not counting donations to chapter offices around the country, Munk said. During the same time period last year, donations totaled $22,000.
“The monetary contributions are amazing but there is so much value to the visibility that this is generating,” Munk said. “It’s unquantifiable.”
Many Shluchim have joined in on the campaign, in honor of their friend and colleague, Rabbi Yitzy Hurwitz, Shliach in Temcula, California.
Hurwitz was diagnosed with the disease in 2013, and can no longer speak. In an email to COLlive Yitzy wrote, “as crazy these ice bucket challenge videos seem, they have brought me so much joy.
“It’s them saying ‘Yitzi, we love you, we won’t give up on you.’ With this kind of support, so much love between brothers, HaShem has to send a total refuah.”
To contribute to this special cause please go to:
Video: Shluchim take the Ice Bucket Challenge:
Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman
Rabbi Simcha Backman
Rabbi Shlomo Bistritsky
Rabbi Yossi Kaplan
Rabbi Mendel Mangel
Rabbi Yitzchok Kahan
Rabbi Levi Margolin
Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff
Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum