Students chill out for ALS awareness

THE UNIVERSITY commuinity participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Sept. 12 on the Dionne Green. Students, faculty and staff helped raise awareness and money for the disease.  Photo by The Aquinas photo / Dena Riccio

THE UNIVERSITY commuinity participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Sept. 12 on the Dionne Green. Students, faculty and staff helped raise awareness and money for the disease. Photo by The Aquinas / Dena Riccio

Shrieks could be heard across campus Friday when more than 75 students and faculty members poured buckets of ice water over their heads.

Move for Those Who Can’t, the ALS awareness club, along with the Student Occupational Therapy Association, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Student Formation and Campus Life sponsored a campus-wide ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
“You see how quickly this disease progresses. Once they get to a certain point they know they can’t fight anymore, so they need people to continue fighting for them,” Christie Garrecht, graduate advisor of Move for Those Who Can’t, said.
Milan Karol, a development officer with The Packard Center for ALS research at John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Rev. Richard Malloy, S.J., gave brief remarks to open the event.
After the opening, a University alumnus suffering from ALS watched students pour the ice buckets over their heads with his family and more than 100 spectators.
Participants included individual students as well as various groups around campus including Student Government, the sponsoring clubs and a select group of the maintenance staff- Zone 7- who donated $780 to the cause.
This awareness campaign gone viral gained prominence over the summer, clogging everyone’s Facebook Newsfeeds with videos.
“It’s had such a presence on social media that it has really gotten the word out there,” junior Olivia Levine said.
The ice bucket challenge is not unique to ALS. It has been used in the sporting world and as an awareness campaign for various other causes such as cancer in the past. Supporters of the cause, like Karol, say that the ice bucket challenge is suited well for ALS, because the disease “freezes” the body while leaving the mind intact.
“The challenge with ALS is that patients affected by this disease cannot be their own best advocates so it takes the rest of us to … be the advocates and raise awareness … and work together,” Karol said.
Participants in the ALS ice bucket challenge are challenged to pour a bucket of ice water over his or her head or donate $100 to the ALS Association. The participants began to nominate other people, generally three, to participate in the challenge as well. They are instructed to complete the same challenge within 24 hours, and the cycle continues.
across the globe and has gained so much prominence that many celebrities accepted the challenge and went on to nominate other celebrities. One well-known challenge was Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance of David Beckham’s nomination. DiCaprio’s video gained more than 500 thousand views on YouTube in which he nominated Stephen Harper, the president of Canada. DiCaprio also reportedly donated $100 thousand to ALS.
Most people donated their money to the ALS Association during the challenge. The ALS Association is an organization that advocates on behalf of people who suffer from ALS. The ALS Association reported that 28% of its yearly budget goes toward funding research initiatives like The Packard Center.
According to the ALS Association, they have raised $94.3 million between July and August of this year compared to $2.7 million last year during the same time period. This spike in donations is associated with the ice bucket challenge. The ALS Association also reported 2.1 million new donors this year compared to last.
Controversy arose over the summer concerning the criticism that the challenge focuses more on fun than the actual cause and substituting a trivial activity for more sincere charitable participation.
Supporters oppose that point of view, stating that the awareness is what counts and is what has made the impact.
“The issue is more the awareness. There has never been awareness for ALS. Now that the word is actually out there and people did it, they are one step ahead now. The fact that there is awareness is what’s important,” said Garrecht.
The campus-wide event raised $1,500. The money will be dispersed between The ALS Club’s patient support program, helping those who suffer from ALS in Lackawanna County and The Packard Center in Maryland. The challenge would not be complete with a nomination, so before the buckets were poured, Garrecht announced that The University nominates Fordham University, Loyola University of Maryland and Saint Joseph’s University.

Participants in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge are challenged to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Participants began to nominate other people, generally three, to participate in the challenge as well. They are instructed to complete the same challenge within 24 hours, and the cycle continues.

The challenge has spread across the globe and has gained so much prominence that many celebrities accepted the challenge and went on to nominate other celebrities.
One well-known challenge was Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance of David Beckham’s nomination. DiCaprio’s video gained more than 500,000 views on YouTube. He nominated Stephen Harper, the president of Canada, and DiCaprio also reportedly donated $100,000 to ALS.
Most people donated their money to the ALS Association during the challenge. The ALS Association is an organization that advocates on behalf of people who suffer from ALS. The ALS Association reported that 28 percent of its yearly budget goes toward funding research initiatives like The Packard Center.
According to the ALS Association, it has raised $94.3 million between July and August of this year compared to $2.7 million last year during the same time period. This spike in donations is associated with the ice bucket challenge. The ALS Association also reported 2.1 million new donors this year compared to 2013.
Controversy arose over the summer concerning the criticism that the challenge focuses more on fun than the actual cause and substituting a trivial activity for more sincere charitable participation. Supporters oppose that point of view, stating that ALS awareness is what counts and is what has made the impact.
“The issue is more about the awareness. There has never been awareness for ALS. Now that the word is actually out there and people did it, they are one step ahead now. The fact that there is awareness is what’s important,” Garrecht said.
The campus-wide event raised $1,500. The money will be dispersed between The ALS Club’s patient support program, which helps those who suffer from ALS in Lackawanna County and The Packard Center in Maryland.
The challenge would not be complete with a nomination, so before the buckets were poured, Garrecht announced that The University nominates Fordham University, Loyola University of Maryland and Saint Joseph’s University.

 

By Eliana Saks

Managing Editor

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