Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS Research Reaches KBTX

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BRYAN - It's a damp challenge making waves across the nation, and Friday, the Ice Bucket Challenge reached KBTX's studios.

News 3 anchor Steve Fullhart joined the H20 club live on News 3 at Noon after he was challenged, first by local country music product Katye Hamlin, then separately but shortly thereafter by former KBTX meteorologist Ashley Batey, now at the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.

Dousing a person in ice water has become a recent fundraising phenomenon. For example, Texas A&M Women's Basketball Head Coach Gary Blair took a plunge in June to raise money for cancer research.

However, recently, the ALS Association grabbed hold of the trend and sent it viral. The group is raising money for research into the as-yet-incurable Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more widely known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

A person is supposed to have a bucket of ice water dumped on them within 24 hours of receiving the challenge. Otherwise, they're asked to donate $100 to the ALS Association, although even if a person takes the bucket, they're still asked to donate. If the water challenge is completed, then the newly-soaked person is asked to challenge others.

Fullhart made a donation to the ALS Association in addition to taking the plunge courtesy of his First News at Four co-anchor Karla Castillo and meteorologist Crystal Ploehn. His challenges went to four of his friends in the community and fellow classmates in the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Brazos program from 2012-2013: Kailee Carver with Caldwell Companies, Nancy Dee Johnson with Kristen Distributing, Tres Masser with Brenham National Bank, and Joe Patranella with the Watson Law Firm.

According to the ALS Association, since late July, the organization has raised $9.5 million compared to $1.6 million during the same time period last year. The increase has been largely attributed to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

“We’re heartened that the momentum of this incredible visibility continues,” Barbara Newhouse, the president and CEO of association, said in a statement Friday. “We are so thankful for the generous outpouring of donations and people’s interest in learning more about ALS.”

Celebrities from the entertainment and sports worlds are among the people taking part in the challenge. Thursday, Aggie and PGA Tour golfer Ryan Palmer took part, then challenged A&M Football Head Coach Kevin Sumlin. The Cleveland Browns -- including new quarterback and Aggie Johnny Manziel, and Huntsville High graduate and cornerback Justin Gilbert -- got wet Friday to raise awareness for ALS.

The disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing an inability to control muscles, according to the ALSA. Total paralysis and death usually come within five years of a diagnosis.

Click here to learn more about ALS and to donate to the ALS Association.