Delta State leadership accepts cool challenge, passes it on
by Courtney Warren
Aug 20, 2014 | 2014 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Clevelanders and Delta State University have stepped up to the challenge.

The ice bucket challenge is sweeping the nation, with individuals challenging their friends for one reason or another to dump ice water on their heads, however, rather than just an Internet sensation, this challenge has taken a different turn and now participants all across the country are referring to is as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and the progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death.

By either participating in the ice bucket challenge or making a donation to The ALS Association, "As of (today) The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to Aug. 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association," according to an ALSA press release.

On Sunday during move-in day, DSU President Bill LaForge stepped up to the plate and took the challenge.

He can be seen on video surrounded by DSU students, community members, and the Fighting Okra, accepting the challenge from DSU Head Football Coach Todd Cooley.

"Our students are Delta State. I thought they'd get a kick out of pulling the ice water trigger and being there to see it. And I want them to be aware of social causes, philanthropy, and the need to rally around other people in a time in need. It was also a great way to highlight our move-in day at Delta State for our new students," said LaForge.

"Students need to know we are engaged and willing to put it all on the line – for serious and less-serious issues. We don’t live in an ivory tower, and it’s important for students to feel comfortable interacting with the campus leadership, faculty, staff, and community leaders as well. For soon, they will take our places! And it’s important for us to be able to have a lighter moment and laugh at ourselves….so they can laugh at us too all in good fun," he said.

After he had a bucket of ice water poured on his head, LaForge challenged IHL Commissioner Hank Bounds, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell.

He gave them 48 hours to accept the challenge and/or donate to the cause.

LaForge said he chose these people because, "IHL Commissioner Hank Bounds – probably the only way I can call out my boss; Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum – because he needs cooling off; Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell – just because he needs a good soaking."

Athletic director Ronnie Mayers also accepted the challenge that day.

Despite being on a beach vacation, Nowell accepted the challenge and can also be seen on video having a bucket of ice water dumped on his head, getting over the shock, and then challenging DSU head baseball coach Mike Kinnison, assistant football coach Lanier Goethie, and head golf coach Sam Dunning.

"Y'all have as much fun as I just did," said Nowell as he stood covered in ice water.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began when Chris Kennedy, a professional golfer on the minor-league West Florida Tour, took the challenge and then challenged three others, including his wife’s cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband, Anthony, is suffering from ALS, according to The Golf Channel.

After sharing it on Facebook, a friend of a friend saw it: Pat Quinn, of Yonkers, N.Y. According to WSJ, he joined in on the fun and his social network, which included Pete Frates, started spreading it.

"Frates, a former baseball star at Boston College, was diagnosed with ALS two years ago and has since lost his ability to talk and can't move his arms or legs. The Times reports he made a video of himself in late July bobbing his head to Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" and nominated his friends," according to an article in Syracuse news.

The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front. 

The learn more or to make a donation visit www.alsa.org.