PLAINFIELD – The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge arrived Tuesday in Will County with a soaking at Central Elementary School.
Challenged by Central Principal Linda DiLeo, Plainfield School District 202 Superintendent Lane Abrell led DiLeo and more than 20 Central Elementary staff members outside the school Tuesday afternoon. They all took buckets of ice water and flung it over their heads together.
“Woo, that was fun,” Abrell said to the staff after the dump.
“It was awesome,” said fifth-grader Maggie Meagher, who also participated in the challenge.
Meagher said she wished she could do the challenge every day, especially after seeing her teachers, principal and superintendent soaked with ice water.
The ice bucket challenge has become a fundraising craze, raising money and awareness for ALS research.
The ALS Association reported Tuesday it has received $22.9 million in donations since July 29, a big increase from the $1.9 million in the same time frame last year. The organization attributes the increase to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive disease that attacks the central nervous system, according to the Center for Disease Control.
The challenge gives a nominated person the choice of donating money to ALS research, dumping ice water on their heads and filming it, or both.
The challenge has hit mainstream in the United States with famous people like NBA player LeBron James, singer Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey taking the challenge to spread awareness about the disease.
Locally, Shorewood Mayor Rick Chapman said he was doused Sunday in an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante and Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman said they have been challenged.
The challenge has a lot of meaning for the Central Elementary staff.
Tuesday’s event at the school honored Sandy Fredericks, the mother of fourth-grade teacher Nicole Stauffacher. Fredericks was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 and is continuing her fight against the disease by participating in events and raising money.
“Anytime we can help out someone who is really our family member we’ll do it,” DiLeo said.
Central Elementary staff passed on the challenge to the staffs of Lincoln Elementary, Indian Trail Middle School and Plainfield Central High School.
“I’m challenging the remainder of our district office, and I’m personally challenging Police Chief John Konopek and Deputy Fire Chief John Stratton to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” Abrell said.