If you haven’t heard of the ice bucket challenge yet, you’ve likely been living under a rock. The trendy charity fundraiser in support of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has raised tens of millions of dollars for the cause after going viral on social media.
The community of West Montrose has accepted the challenge and will be pouring buckets of ice cold water on themselves this Saturday on the south side of the covered bridge.
Organizer Tony Dowling said they were encouraged to take the challenge after Elmira resident Michelle Cross passed from the disease.
“We were challenged by one of our residents. We certainly had been looking at it,” Dowling said.”
He said Cross was very heavily involved in the Random Acts of Kindness movement and they wanted to do this challenge to honour her. Dowling is looking forward to taking the challenge with his wife and daughter. He will be challenging his nieces in Kentucky and Texas to do the same.
“I think it’s a great cause. It’ll be literally a wake up call with the ice water over our heads,” Dowling said with a laugh.
The ALS Canada website describes it as a “progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed.” Between 2,500 and 3,000 in Canada have the fatal disease.
He doesn’t have an estimate of how many people will be doing the challenge but he says he’s hoping for “many dozens,” after putting the word out to the community.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good turnout,” Dowling said. “And the idea is we’ll have big buckets of cold water from the river, and a cooler of ice, and participants will come running out, announce their name, who they’re challenging and dump the water over their heads and put a donation in the bucket.”
They expect to raise hundreds of dollars, if not thousands Dowling said. He said a couple people who are on the BridgeKeepers committee expect to make a significant monetary contribution.
“Then we’re giving people a chance to get home, get dried off, and come back for our annual barbecue.”
The ice bucket challenge is at 4 p.m., with the barbeque beginning at 5 p.m. at 8 Tallwood Dr. There will also be acoustic music at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., and then Elvis impersonator, Bruce Herron.
“The King will be in the building at 7. And then weather permitting we’ll have movies under the stars at 8.”
Participants are asked to bring a bucket for the challenge if they have one. Some will be provided, but not enough for everyone.
Dowling said they see anywhere between 50 and 100 people come out to the barbecue each year.
“It’s just a chance for the community to get together, for folks who are new to West Montrose to come out and meet their neighbours and people that have been around for awhile and touch base and get together for camaraderie.”
He said he hopes this event helps educate the residents of West Montrose about ALS and gives them a chance to give back.
“I just think [the goal is] for people to become more aware of ALS and give a challenge to the cause. We just want to contribute to that cause.”