ALS Ice Bucket Challenge makes a splash in Davis

By Chloe Sommer, Staff–

DHS Junior Mitchell Williams takes part on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with help from his mother, father, and dog; then posted the video on social networking sites.
DHS Junior Mitchell Williams takes part on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with help from his mother, father, and dog.

A bucket of ice water dumped over the head, filmed and posted online may have seemed bizarre a month ago, but it is now commonplace for people nationwide.

The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge has swept the Davis community into a frenzy of chilly charitable giving.

The Ice Bucket Challenges’ national movement began with Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball star, who was diagnosed with the fatal disease in 2011.

Two and a half years after being diagnosed, Frates challenged friends in the Boston community to an Internet dare with a personal twist: challenge nominees had 24 hours to either donate to an ALS charity, or dump a bucket of ice water over their heads, film it, and post it to a social media site.

Frates’s friends undertook the Ice Bucket Challenge in honor of him and donated to the ALS Association, nominating fellow athletes and friends to do the same.

It didn’t take long for the challenge to spread to other sports teams, celebrities and simply average Americans nationwide, including Davis High students.

Sophomore Yoshi Wainwright accepted the challenge after being nominated by a friend.

“I did it to raise awareness for ALS,” Wainwright said. “It was wet and cold, in that order.”

For many, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a simple public act of spreading awareness for a charity. But for some, the challenge is personal.

“My entire family, we just did [the challenge] to remember my uncle who passed away from ALS,” senior Connor Spann said.

According to Spann, ALS is usually a low-profile disease that doesn’t get much attention. But the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a difference.

“It’s not something people usually think about,” Spann said.

Although the official challenge allows participants to dump ice water instead of donating, many do both. As of Sept. 3, the ALS Association has received $107.4 million in donations thanks to the Challenge.

The ALS Association has financed $99 million in research and clinical management projects since 1985, with the hope of eventually curing ALS.

Currently, the Association is funding nearly 100 active research projects. The new influx of funding opens even more doors for the Association’s future.

Davis community members can say with confidence that they have helped the process. From athletes to parents and siblings, many Davis dwellers have taken the challenge, posting it online to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“I really think it’s helped spread awareness,” sophomore Amy Fang said. Fang took the challenge on Sept. 27, donating and dumping ice water.

“It might not have a long-lasting effect,” Spann said. “But it’s good that people are making donations now.”

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