The ALS “ice bucket challenge” has become a full-blown social media sensation with people across the United States dousing themselves with buckets of icy water.
Even Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas has taken the frigid plunge.
Councilmembers Patsy Cudaback, Jason Gamble, Kevin Hanford, Jim Kamp, Kurt Goering and Jeff Rasmussen all gathered outside of Monroe City Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 19 after the regular meeting of the Monroe City Council. The councilmembers all had a hand in hoisting the heavy, water-filled container, which they then tipped over the top of the mayor’s head, briefly and thoroughly submerging him in ice water.
In an effort to spread awareness as far as possible, compelling others to participate has been an important part of the challenge. Each person who accepts the ice bucket challenge will typically nominate a few individuals to also take part in the polar plunge. This is done by “calling them out,” usually on video, and sometimes a time limit is given.
“This is for the ALS 2014 ice bucket challenge,” said Mayor Thomas, just seconds before being immersed in ice-water. “I’m calling out Senator Pearson, State Representative Scott and State Representative Kristiansen.”
Now it will be up to Senator Kirk Pearson, Rep. Elizabeth Scott and Rep. Dan Kristiansen to keep the challenge moving throughout the Sky Valley area and beyond.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive disease for which there is no cure. The condition causes motor neurons between the brain, spinal cord and the muscles throughout the body to degenerate and finally die. When the neurons die, the brain is no longer able to initiate any sort of muscle movement and the patient eventually becomes completely paralyzed.
The ALS Association reports that the average life expectancy of a person with ALS is roughly two to five years from diagnosis.
“Mad” Mike Miller, a promoter and brewery owner from Woodinville, has been working to spread awareness about ALS for over six years. Through his nonprofit organization Rock Out ALS, Miller has worked since 2008 to produce live rock shows featuring local Seattle-area musicians as a method of raising general awareness of the disease.
“I lost my mom in 2-1/2 years. She was a rocker and a huge influence on who I am today. I watched her wither away,” said Miller. “Since then, I’ve lost several close friends.”
As far as the ice water goes, Miller is a huge supporter of the ice bucket challenge.
“The challenge is everything I’ve ever wanted over the last six years of doing Rock Out ALS,” said Miller. “It’s spreading massive awareness of what was an ‘orphan’ disease.”
ALS has long been considered an “orphan” diseas, meaning that, since a relatively low amount of people in the United States are afflicted with the debilitating disorder, there is little motivation for the pharmaceutical industry to do the research needed to find a cure.
As of Tuesday, Aug. 19, the ALS Association reported receiving nearly 23 million dollars from ice bucket challenge donations in less than a one-month period of time.
Mayor Thomas has joined the ranks of other ALS ice bucket challenge participants such as Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll, local rap artist Macklemore, and Star Trek Director J.J. Abrams.