Have you seen people dumping ice water over their heads on your Facebook and Twitter feeds? It’s not just a way to cool down in the summer heat — it’s also raising awareness of ALS.
The #IceBucketChallenge was started by Peter Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. The 29-year-old and his family have made it their mission to spread the word about the neuromuscular disease and what they’re doing to help find a cure.
Here’s how the challenge works: You fill up a bucket of ice water, and get your camera. You inform everyone about the cause, and pour that bucket over your head. You then challenge someone else to complete the same challenge. They have 24 hours to post a video of themselves taking an ice water shower before passing on the challenge to others. If they opt out, they donate $100. Post the video using the hashtag #icebucketchallenge on all your social media accounts with a link to donate to the ALS Association.
There are a variety of videos showing the challenge, including Frates’s uncle, Arthur Cronin, making himself into a human Bloody Mary, complete with tomato juice and celery. In Frates’s local community, a group event was held on Tuesday morning at Boston police headquarters, with officers accepting the challenge. Even members of the Boston Bruins have gotten in on the action.
Frates has also taken part — in his specialized wheelchair while a video of Vanilla Ice’s one big hit, “Ice Ice Baby,” played on a large screen behind him.
"Even though Pete himself can’t go under the ice, he identifies every time someone does this and posts a video of it," said Nancy Frates, Pete’s mom. "It’s what he set out to do; get more understanding and awareness of this disease."
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide. Basically, it causes the brain to stop sending signals to the muscles, causing them to waste away. You can donate here.