Ice Bucket Challenge Hits Home for Local ALS Sufferer

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

CALDWELL, Texas - The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken social media by storm. But is it working?

The concept is simple. Pour a bucket of ice water over your head and challenge others to do the same, or donate $100 to the ALS Association. It's designed to raise awareness and bring in some cash for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease research and patient care.

People everywhere are taking the challenge. From actors like Ben Affleck, to President George W. Bush. News 3's Steve Fullhart and John Wilson even accepted the challenge.

Paulette Bennett with the ALS Association Texas Chapter said the campaign is working well.

"This has been an answer to prayer by all means," said Bennett.

The campaign has not only raised awareness for ALS, but since the campaign began in July, more than $31 million has been raised nation wide. That's up from about $1.8 million from the same time last year.

Money that will go towards care for patients suffering from ALS, and research to find out what causes the disease.

"That's the worst problem with this horrendous disease, they don't know what causes it," said Bennett.

Steve Sowders worked construction until he was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Now he spends his days at the St. Joseph Manor in Caldwell. His sister, Cathy Westbrook, said ALS has turned their lives upside down.

"It's been emotional and stressful," said Westbrook.

Sowders has two children, ages seven and ten years old. They visit Sowders two or three times a week. The mere mention of his children brings Sowders to tears.

"They love their daddy very much, and it's been very hard on them," said Westbrook.

Westbrook said the ice bucket challenge has generated more than hype.

"We've done the ALS walks, we've raised money towards awareness, and it just took a bucket of ice being poured on the head to get some money raised," said Westbrook.

Bennett said the most important part of the campaign is the awareness its raised.

To find out more about ALS, or to donate, visit the link added to this story.

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