After the first soccer game for a U8 Columbus Grove Soccer team, which was a win, Coach Crystal Dunlap let the team dump the ice bucket on her to help raise awareness and money for ALS. Crystal said she would match anything the team donated and also quickly told the kids what it was for. (Photo submitted)
After the first soccer game for a U8 Columbus Grove Soccer team, which was a win, Coach Crystal Dunlap let the team dump the ice bucket on her to help raise awareness and money for ALS. Crystal said she would match anything the team donated and also quickly told the kids what it was for. (Photo submitted)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Many Putnam County residents have joined a national trend of dumping ice on their heads. Why are they doing it? They are taking the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise funds and awareness for ALS often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The event went viral earlier this summer and has raised $79.7 million for ALS.

The fundraiser went viral when former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who has ALS, began posting about the challenge on Twitter. Frates is a patient advocate known for his fundraising and advocacy work. The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media and has become a pop culture. Between June 1 and Aug. 13 it was reported that 1.2 million videos had been shared on Facebook of people taking the challenge.

The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then challenging others to do the same. The common stipulation is the nominated person must comply or can forfeit by making a charitable financial donation for ALS.

ALS is a motor neurone disease characterized bymuscle spasticity, rapidly progressing weakness due to muscle atrophy and difficulity in speaking, swallowing and breathing. Median survival time from onset to death is 39 months.

Many local people have a personal reason for taking the challenge.

When Ottawa resident Jim Heringhaus dumped the ice water on his head he was doing it for his 1967 classmate Bill Croy, also of Ottawa and for his brother Tom Heringhaus, who also had ALS.

Croy also had a grandson, Evan Large, who took the challenge to have ice poured on his head. This challenge worked its way to the Ohio Northern University Football team. They took the challenge in honor of Bill who was a 1970 graduate of ONU where he played football and ran track.

Standing in front of his church, Chas Myers challenged the entire church to contribute in memory of former member Pete Zaleski, who retired from Philips and moved to Tennessee.

Traveling east to Leipsic, Rev. Tim Eding, accepted the challenge. He also takes the time to discuss his own neurological disease, hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) characterized by progressive weakness and spasticity of the legs. Rev. Eding states during his challenge video that while planning to donate to ALS, he also planned to donate to HSP.

After the first soccer game for a U8 Columbus Grove Soccer team, which was a win, Coach Crystal Dunlap let the team dump the ice bucket on her to help raise awareness and money for ALS. Crystal said she would match anything the team donated and also quickly told the kids what it was for.

“I can no longer speak very many words and my fingers tire fairly quickly when I type, so I’m going to utilize the posts of others to communicate what it’s like to live with ALS and why I am elated with the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomena,” Bill Croy said in a blog. “Keep dumping that ice and giving!.”

“This effort is huge and I know you all want to be a part of it,” he commented.