A warm day turned frigid for seven staff members and students at William & Mary’s Mason School of Business Friday afternoon, as they took the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to benefit Lou Gehrig’s disease patients.
The social media phenomenon began near the end of July, as people either willingly accept a bucket of ice over their heads or donate $100 to the ALS Association.
The organization funds research, advocacy, patient and community services and public education about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal malady that attacks the nerve cells and pathways in the brain, gradually taking away a person’s ability to speak, eat, move and ultimately, breathe.
At the Mason School, the chilly challenge was initiated by Stephanie Joynes, Career Management Center marketing manager. Joynes lost her mother, Nadine Norton, to ALS four years ago.
“It was really shocking for our family,” Joynes said. “It was a quick, and very sad, change – to see her so lively, and then her muscles basically not working and then her having a hard time communicating.
“Having this mobility change, this communication change, was really isolating to her. So having everybody going out and doing this on social media and showing how much they care, how much they want to be part of this community, has really been so important to me and to my family. And, of course, I'm amazed at the turnout our William & Mary community has put forth here.”
The challenge has participants dumping buckets of ice over their heads while challenging three people to either do the same or to donate.
Joynes, who was joined by Career Management Center Executive Director Chequeta Allen, challenged her entire high school class in Ohio, and the William & Mary community, to either donate or brave the ice bucket.
While the campaign sends a chill down the spine of participants, it is a windfall for the ALS Association, which reported $22.9 million in donations between July 29 and Aug. 19. In contrast, the association raised $1.9 million during the same period last year, according to a press release.