LOMBARD – The social media phenomenon that has people dumping buckets of ice over their heads recently called a Lombard village official into action.
Village trustee Laura Fitzpatrick, her husband, Kevin, and his high school classmate, Juan Orts, completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Aug. 16 while on vacation in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Fitzpatricks were called out from the steps of the State Capitol in Springfield, where new state Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst, completed the challenge a day earlier.
The challenge, which aims to raise funds to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease, prompts participants to either donate money to ALS or dump ice water on their heads and then challenge friends or colleagues to do the same.
The trustee said Nybo sent her a text challenging her while she was on vacation. Laura added she, Kevin and Orts completed the challenge a few hours after Nybo did it.
“[Orts] filmed us first and then we did the challenge right after. We don’t wait around.” Fitzpatrick said. “It was nearly 100 degrees outside so it felt great. Everyone should try it.”
Fitzpatrick said she’s known her challenger Nybo for about eight years. She added they both started their careers in city councils, Nybo in Elmhurst and Fitzpatrick in Lombard, and have helped each other in the election cycle.
The trustee said she saw Nybo and his children a few days before she did the challenge at Nybo’s campaign party.
“He told me his children asked him to pick us,” Fitzpatrick said.
As of Thursday, the challenge had raised $94.3 million compared to $2.7 million during the same time period last year, according to the ALS Association website.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, who attended Montini High School in Lombard with Orts, said if individuals accept and complete the Ice Bucket Challenge, they make a $10 donation to the ALS Association. If they don’t accept the challenge, he said, then they make a $100 donation.
The disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It’s named after former New York Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig, who died from the degenerative disease June 2, 1941, according to the Lou Gehrig website.
“The fact that we’re still trying to find a cure tells you how much money it takes,” Kevin said. “The challenge is very helpful. It’s raised millions of dollars.”
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For more information about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, visit alsa.org.