Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Two members of the Westminster College men’s soccer team lifted a red water bucket over their heads and tipped it forward. They let the ice-filled water fall on top of the college’s president and his wife as the entire team stood next to them on the soccer field, watching. Westminster College President George B. “Barney” Forsythe and his wife, Jane, smiled as they looked down at their drenched clothes.
“We were lucky to do it on a warm day,” Barney Forsythe said.
Westminster’s men’s soccer team dumped the bucket of ice over Forsythe’s head as part of the ALS “ice bucket challenge” on Tuesday. The ALS Association uses the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — and to encourage donations. Those who accept the challenge, must allow someone to dump ice water on them, film it and then post it on social media. Whoever is accepting the challenge must call out others on camera to do the same. Those who do not accept the challenge are asked to donate money to an ALS charity.
Westminster’s Sports Information Director Alysha Hodge brought the challenge to the school. One of Hodge’s friends recently challenged her and when she had to name who she would be challenging, Forsythe was among the list.
“I decided it would be a good idea to have the president do it and bring it into the school since it is a good cause,” Hodge said. “I tried to incorporate athletics and bring it into athletics. I figured with the president doing it the whole campus can see it and understand what it is, too.”
Hodge had also named a few members of Westminster athletics, including senior men’s soccer player Muhle Dlamini, who helped pour the water on Forsythe.
The women’s volleyball team has also already taken the challenge. And, the men’s soccer team accepted the ice bucket challenge after its practice Tuesday night. The team passed on the challenge to Westminster’s baseball team and others. Forsythe passed the challenge on to the women’s basketball team, who will take on the ice bucket challenge on Wednesday afternoon.
“Each team is nominating and calling out all the other teams to do it,” Hodge said.
Hodge said that while she did the ice bucket challenge, she still plans on donating money to the ALS Association.
“I hope the people that I nominated still donate, too,” Hodge said.
Forsythe said he and his wife would also be making a contribution to the ALS Association.
“I think it’s a good cause,” Forsythe said. “The fact that they’ve raised a lot of money for a good cause is important. We had a member of our board of trustees several years ago who passed from ALS. So in some ways we’re doing that for him.”
The ALS Association attributes its recent increase in donations to the ice bucket challenge. ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations, as of Aug. 19. During the same period — July 29 through Aug. 19 — last year, the Association only raised $1.9 million, according to a press release on the ALS Association’s website. The Association has received donations from existing donors as well as 453,210 new donors.
Search #icebucketchallenge or #alsicebucketchallenge on social media to see people taking part in the challenge across the country.
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