Challenging a disease

Who knew what an impact some ice water and a bucket could make? The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become a viral spectacle that has raised more than $50 million and global awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Football coach Phil Ferrante asked the Kennedy community to get involved by choosing to donate or participate in the challenge after the annual Green and Gold football scrimmage Aug. 22.

“I’d seen (ALS challenges) all over TV, the internet, and social media and really wanted to get Kennedy involved as a sort of “back to school’ effort,” Ferrante said.

Fifty people participated after the scrimmage on Friday and raised around $600, “which wasn’t too bad for two days of getting the word out,” Ferrante said.

Ferrante’s family is personally affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. “My uncle passed away from ALS in May 1995,” Ferrante said, “I remember how the disease took its toll on him over a course of about two years.”

ALS is a disease in which nerve cells are attacked and it ultimately leads to total paralysis, however the mind remains functional. The life expectancy of someone with ALS tends to be two to five years after the diagnosis.

The ice bucket challenge has been a major motivator to get people to donate to ALS awareness. Many Kennedy students individually participated and bigger groups like the Kennedy dance team and women’s swimming and diving team also posted their video challenges.

“I was happy to see the kids and staff participate. Even some of those who didn’t participate on Friday donated to our cause,” Ferrante said.

If you are interested in donating to ALS awareness, click on the following link