The ice bucket challenge is meant to raise awareness and research funding for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The progressive neurodegenerative disease is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, as the famous baseball player brought a lot of national and international attention to ALS when he was diagnosed in 1939.
The disease affects motor neurons that allow the brain to control muscle movement. Patients in the later stages of ALS may become totally paralyzed, and the disease is fatal.
In order to raise awareness, participants in the ice bucket challenge are nominated by friends to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads and/or donate money to ALS research. Videos of the water dumping are then posted on social media for others to enjoy, and to allow the participant to nominate others to join in the freezing fun.
While the origin of the ice bucket challenge is disputed, it has undoubtedly been successful, allowing the ALS Association to raise $79.7 million since July 29. The organization raised just $2.5 million in the same period last year.
Maspeth’s State Farm branch recently decided to join in on the fun. Insurance Account Representative Tom Murray explained that after seeing all of their friends doing the challenge on Facebook, employees in the office started to throw around the idea of doing the challenge themselves.
“Then as an office we decided it would be a great way to raise awareness and raise money for a good cause,” Murray said.
But the men and women of State Farm threw in a little twist: instead of nominating their friends or family to complete the challenge, they nominated other State Farm branches.
“We threw the idea out there that we can start challenging other agencies and do this on a macro level to raise awareness and money for the cause,” Murray said.
And so, under a rainy sky last Friday, the staff at State Farm dumped buckets filled with ice and cold water over their heads.
Now the office will collect money from individuals, as much or as little as they would like, to donate to the ALS Association to help fund research.
“Everybody here does have a good heart and cares for everybody,” Murray said.