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Challenge accepted! David and Bryan, you're next

Wednesday, August 27, 2014   by: Donna Hopper

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're familiar with the recent viral social media challenge aimed at raising awareness of and funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) research.

Buzz Aldrin, George W. Bush, Sidney Crosby, Charles Barkley, Rob Ford, Stephen Colbert, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Buble, Robert Plant, Dave Grohl, Stephen King, William Shatner, Tina Fey, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Denis Leary and countless other famous faces have all accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Videos posted online by Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Stewart, and Isaiah Mustafa (AKA The Old Spice Guy) are particularly entertaining.

Heck, even the Cookie Monster, Homer Simpson, the Pilsbury Doughboy and Kermit the Frog have had ice-cold water dumped on their heads for the cause.

Slightly less famous and much closer to home, individuals across Sault Ste. Marie have joined the challenge and called out others to participate.

Pictured above are Terry Sheehan, Ward 2 city councillor; Darrin McGonegal, manager of Service Rentals; Tyler Chindamo, marketing and sales coordinator for the Soo Thunderbirds; Marty Marin, Soo Thunderbirds supporter and OLG security officer; Stephen Morassut, owner of Miramar Design Studio; and Gary Kindred, manager of National Supply taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at Service Rentals on Sackville Road Tuesday afternoon.

Sheehan told SooToday.com that he performed the challenge in honour of his wife's cousin Ken Rouleau who passed away from ALS two years ago.

A resident of Salt Spring Island, Rouleau was a social activist, writer and former caregiver who posted a number of 'Philobusker' discussions to his YouTube channel near the end of his life.

"It's a great cause and the awareness created has been awesome," a very chilly Sheehan told us following yesterday's challenge. "This cause gives people a lot of opportunity to help and a lot of hope."

"We wanted to create some momentum with local business owners and influential people here in the Sault," said McGonegal of the challenge.

He has issued challenges to Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orazietti, Donnie Varcoe of Lakeway Truck Centre and Bill Siddall of National Transportation.

Chindamo called out Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes; Frank Costa, president of Optik Technologies and owner of City Wide Electrical; and his cousin Pat, an RPN at St. Josephs General Hospital in Elliot Lake.

Both MPP Orazietti and MP Hayes have accepted the challenge which they will complete once details are finalized.

In addition to getting doused with cold water, all six of yesterday's participants made a $100 donation to ALS Canada, and the ice was generously donated by RJ's Market.

Other notable Saultites who have accepted the challenge include Sunny Naqvi, Quality Inn general manager, who participated on Thursday, August 21.

He called out Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Debbie Amaroso; Ian McMillan, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie executive director; Tom Dodds, Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation chief executive officer; and Karol Rains, executive director of the Sault Community Career Centre, who publicly accepted the challenge on Friday, August 22.

Ward 3 City Council candidate Matthew Shoemaker got a bit creative with his Ice Bucket Challenge on August 26, seen in the video below.

While the phenomenon has drawn criticism for wasting water and the self-congratulatory nature of the videos, and some may be growing tired of the torrent of videos filtering through their social media feeds, the international ALS Ice Bucket Challenge movement has had a definite positive impact.

A recent news release issued by the ALS Association in the United States reports almost $90 million in donations as a direct result from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

“We are simply awe-struck at the incredible generosity that has poured forth to help fight this disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association, in the release. “Words cannot express how grateful we are to the nearly two million people who have donated and even more than that who have likely taken the challenge. You have all made an incredible effort in the fight against this disease.”

Donations to ALS Canada, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, currently sit at $8,892,233 just shy of its $10 million fundraising goal.

According to Brigitte Labby, ALS Canada Northeastern Ontario regional manager, more than 70 Northern Ontario families, including those located in Algoma, Wawa, Sudbury and Manitoulin, live with ALS.

To make a donation to ALS Canada, please click here.

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