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HES students take ALS challenge

Third, fourth and fifth grade students at Hillsboro Elementary School took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last Friday. The fourth grade studied Lou Gehrig and chose to do the challenge to raise awareness of the disease named after the baseball great. S. Stewart photo
Third, fourth and fifth grade students at Hillsboro Elementary School took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last Friday. The fourth grade studied Lou Gehrig and chose to do the challenge to raise awareness of the disease named after the baseball great. S. Stewart photo

We’ve all seen them – the video clips of people dumping ice water and ice on themselves and each other to raise awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.

When the fourth grade class at Hillsboro Elementary School read a story about Lou Gehrig, they did research and found the correlation between the baseball hall of famer and the disease named after him.

“They read that he came down with ALS and so they were very concerned,” teacher Kristi Tankersly said. “They wanted to know more about it. We did some research and they found this worldwide movement – the ice bucket challenge. They asked, ‘can we do the challenge, too?’ and I said, why don’t we invite the third and fifth grades to join us?’”

The third and fifth grade students joined in the challenge and despite the chill in the air, the students grabbed their buckets and lined up on the sidewalk behind the school.

While most ice bucket challenge videos begin with an explanation of what the challenge is for, the fourth grade students took it a step further and gave a presentation on Lou Gehrig.

“The fourth grade has been reading about Lou Gehrig and his battle with the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Robert Pritt said. “As we started to research, we found out that people across the world were participating in the ALS ice bucket challenge. We decided to invite third and fifth grade to join us in the challenge to raise money for the ALS Association.”

“Lou Gehrig was hired for the New York Yankees in 1925 and played for fourteen years without missing a game,” Holden Sharp said. “In 1939, Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS and passed away on June 2, 1941 at the age of thirty-seven.”

“Lou Gehrig was a modest person who never really talked about his disease,” Virginia Allen said. “He played hard despite pain caused by ALS and always put his team first. He persevered through the illness and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He was loved and admired by all.”

“The ALS Association is a non-profit organization that uses all funds to fight ALS on all fronts,” Sammy Williams said. “The money from the ice bucket challenge is used to research new treatments and find more information about the disease.”

“The money is also used for supporting patients and their loved ones dealing with this disease,” Kristin McCoy said. “A percentage of the funds are used to educate the public about ALS.”

“ALS is a deadly disease that is not contagious,” Heidi Kelly said. “It affects the central nervous system and how it allows it to send messages from the brain to all the parts of the body. This disease makes it difficult to do simple activities such as walking, talking or doing other voluntary moments.”

As it is customary for those taking the challenge to extend it to others, the fourth grade revealed who it challenged.

“We’re excited to be able to participate in this worldwide movement to donate money to a good cause,” Waylon Lucabaugh said. “Now we would like to challenge Marlinton Middle School to support the ALS Association.”

Together, the fourth grade exclaimed, “get your buckets ready!”

After a countdown, the students dumped buckets of ice water on themselves.

For more information on the ALS Association, visit www.alsa.org

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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