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Last updated: Wed. Aug. 20, 2014 - 10:29 pm EDT

Ice bucket challenge a fun way to work for charity

ALS fundraiser is dousing the country, including Fort Wayne

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ALS facts

* Early symptoms include muscle weakness or stiffness.

* ALS is not contagious.

* It is estimated ALS is responsible for two deaths per hundred thousand annually.

* Approximately 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS in the United States each year.

* To learn more about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, visit www.alsaindiana.org.

The Fort Wayne Chapter of ALS Association sponsors a Walk to Defeat ALS on Oct. 11 at IPFW. For more information, call 888-508-3232 or e-mail info@alsaindiana.org.

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There are two tips everyone should consider before taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 1. Don't put in too many ice cubes or drop them from a great height because they will tear up your skin. 2. Don't let your girlfriend, wife or significant other do the honors on dumping the cold water.

"Morgan took her time pouring it, and it was cold," Fort Wayne Komets forward Kaleigh Schrock said of his girlfriend Morgan McClarnon who poured a garbage can-sized amount of icy water from about 10 feet up. Yeah, she probably made it last on purpose.

"I literally ran upstairs and took a hot shower and I was still a little cold after," Schrock said. "It's almost like taking a cold bath. This wasn't that bad, but I was still feeling it when I was done."

The "Ice Bucket Challenge" is literally dousing the nation to raise funds and awareness for the ALS Association. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis.

When Pete Frates of Beverly, Mass., was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, he and his family started the "Ice Bucket Challenge" and used social media to make it a national cause. The challenge is to get doused with a bucket of icy water, post the video on social media and then challenge four friends to do the same. If they fail to meet the challenge within 24 hours, they are asked to donate $100 to an ALS charity.

Through Monday, the ALS Association is reporting $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). That includes 453,2108 new donors.

So, if you've ever wanted to say you could do something that LeBron James, Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and countless hockey players have done, here's an opportunity. Then there are locally known professional athletes such as Angie Akers, Lloy Ball and Tyler Eifert who have gotten wet and offered challenges.

It's also had a big impact among local athletes as Komets, TinCaps, MadAnts are among those who have shivered, and college athletes from IPFW, Saint Francis and Indiana Tech have also quickly reached for a warm towel. Everybody seems to be picking on their coaches, nominating them numerous times.

"It was fun, but I want to make sure my kids know why we're doing what we're doing," Komets coach Gary Graham said after his wife Leah also gave him a slow pour.

Saint Francis football coach Kevin Donley said he will not be getting doused, but he is going to make a donation. One of his former players at Anderson University died from ALS a few years ago. IPFW Athletic Director Kelley Hartley Hutton said she also made a donation.

According to the ALS Association, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.

Fort Wayne's Men's Senior Baseball League founder Dan Eash died at age 59 in February after being diagnosed with ALS in 2008. He first noticed a problem while practicing to play in the MSBL World Series. While shagging fly balls, he couldn't move his hand to the right place, and then he had problems picking up things with his left hand or tying his shoes.

"Its just one of those things that didn't go away," Eash said in 2009. "Things just stop and you stop being able to do things that you could... The toughest thing is to say the words, 'Yes, I have ALS,' It usually chokes me up to no end."

bsebring@news-sentinel.com


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