Residents get doused with ice water

Staff writer

All over the Internet lately, videos of people dousing themselves with buckets of ice water have been posted and shared. The stunt is a way to raise money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The disease, for which there is no treatment or cure, is nearly always fatal.

In the days since the ice bucket challenge began, more than $22 million dollars has been raised for ALS research compared to usual donations of almost $2 million annually. Multiple county residents have completed the challenge, from police officers to business owners.

The challenge is especially important to Antelope resident Sandra Garrard. Her son, John, was diagnosed with ALS when he was 28 years old. Now at age 32 he no longer has the ability to walk or talk and eating has become difficult.

John was born as a high-functioning autistic, now he lives in a community in his own apartment with a full-time caretaker. John uses a motorized scooter to get around and an iPad to speak.

John’s ALS means he can no longer visit his parent’s house because it is not handicap accessible.

“We have to plan things like holidays and such because we have to do things at his house,” Sandra said.

Sandra’s two other sons have participated in the ice bucket challenge. Sandra plans to also participate, but with a catch.

“I’ve told my friends and family that if I could raise $200 buy Aug. 30 that I would then dunk myself,” she said. “I’ve raised way over that but I’m not telling them so they keep donating.”

She said the challenge is good, even if people aren’t donating.

“It’s a disease most people don’t think or know much about,” she said. “I’m amazed and thankful every time someone does the challenge because even if they’re not donating, they’re raising awareness.”

Garrard loves how the challenge is fun and easy to do and hopes the tradition of it continues to raise money for ALS for years to come.

“If John could he would thank everyone too,” she said. “People ask me all the time what they can do for him and I always say give to ALS research because his needs are met, but we need a cure.”

Sandra and her sons also participate annually in the ALS walk in Wichita to raise money for research.

 

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