Viral Ice Bucket Challenge makes a splash in Bainbridge

Published 9:11 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday evening, the owner of Palmer Insurance Agency dumped a bucket of water over his head.

Yes, it was in the mid-90s on Monday afternoon, but Matt Palmer wasn’t trying to cool off from the heat. He was responding to a challenge from Post-Searchlight publisher Jeff Findley.

If you have accessed the internet at some point in the last month, you’ve likely seen a friend on Facebook or celebrity on YouTube dumping ice water on his or her head.

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The viral phenomenon known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” is fairly simple: If you get challenged, you have 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice and water on yourself or donate money toward ALS research and challenge others to do the same.

The origin of the challenge has been argued. Many give credit to the surge in #IceBucketChallenge posts to Peter Frates, a Bostonian man diagnosed with ALS in 2012. Before his July 31 video however, others were challenging friends to dump water on them or donate to a charity of the challengers choosing.

Critics have questioned how dumping water on people will help #StompOutALS, but according to the ALS Association, this year it received $15.6 million in donations from July 29 — August 18 compared to $1.8 million during that time frame in 2013.

The challenge has made its way to Decatur County with several residents completing the challenge by donating money or dumping water on his or her head.

Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds was challenged, and plans to donate.

“I’m not going to dump water on my head, but I’m definitely going to donate,” he said.

According to a message from president and CEO of the ALS Association, Barbara J. Newhouse,  “I know that many people are wondering what The ALS Association is going to do with these donations, and my answer is this: invest prudently in helping people with ALS and their families and caregivers in the battle against the disease, while resolutely pursuing all avenues to extend, improve and ultimately save lives.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and affects the function of nerves and muscles. The disease can eventually lead to total paralysis.

According to the most recent information from the ALS Association, over 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed each year, equal to 15 new cases a day. Sixty percent of people with the disease are men, and 93 percent of patients are white.