Ice water pours buckets on West Coast for ALS

The ALS association’s Ice Bucket Challenge has arrived on the West Coast with locals dousing themselves in ice water to raise funds and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The rules are simple, once challenged you have 24 hours to either post a video of yourself being doused by a bucket of ice water online, or write a cheque to the association. You can then challenge up to three other people.

Opting for the wet route, members of Ucluelet’s Volunteer Fire Brigade and RCMP detachment joined at the fire-hall last week; buckets of ice water at-theready and a fireman’s boot serving as a donation jar.

The brigade had been challenged by one of its own, crewmember John

Millar who had dunked himself a few days prior after accepting a challenge from his sister.

Millar said he was happy to take in the experience a second time and raise funds and awareness for ALS.

“It’s a devastating disease that needs to be conquered so the more money we can raise to that end the better,” he said.

Crewmember Mark Udell was also taking his second

iced-dunking and he said the campaign was a natural fit for the first-responders.

“It’s a great charity…It goes to help people and that’s our nature,” he said. “Our nature is to help people and that’s what we want to do.”

Taking the challenge for the first time was crewmember Peter Larkin who said he was more excited than nervous about participating.

“It’s just cold water and it’s for a good cause,” he said.

Const. Marcel Midlane of

the Ucluelet RCMP joined the brigade under the buckets.

“The guys said they were doing it and I thought I’d tag along,” he said.

Paul Galloway was stoked to see his fire crew so keen to embrace Millar’s challenge.

“He challenged the entire department to do it and we’re all game, it’s a good cause, we’re glad to support it,” he said.

“As first responders obviously we’re quick to want to help out however we can whenever we can

and this is just another way that we’re able to help and support people.”

Once the buckets were emptied over their heads, The Ucluetian first-responders challenged Port Alberni’s fire department.

Ucluelet’s manager of environmental and emergency services Karla Robison who oversees the Ukee brigade joined in the dousing.

“We hope by doing the challenge and nominating the Port Alberni Fire Depart

-ment, we have contributed to raising awareness and funds, as well as, empowering people with ALS and their families to live fuller lives through compassion and support,” she said.

In Tofino, Mayor Josie Osborne sidestepped the icy shower by writing a cheque.

“As I understand the rules, once you are nominated, you have the choice of making a video, within 24 hours, of the dumping of a bucket of ice water over your head or donating money, though I’m sure many have done both,” she said.

“I chose to donate because for me it seemed more appropriate, but I’m not critical of those who’ve chosen to do the video-if it’s creating awareness and inspiring others to donate to the causes that are most important to them, it’s a good thing.” She touted the challenge as a solid attention gainer for a worthy cause.

“We are so barraged with media and messaging in this day and age, sometimes it takes an innovative twist to raise the profile of an issue, so it’s impressive that the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised so much money and awareness for motor neurone diseases like ALS,” she said. She declined to disclose her donation amount. “When I used to do a lot of fundraising for a local charity that I worked for, a wise person reminded me that the amount of money someone donated isn’t what was important, it’s that they made the donation,” she said. “People should give according to their ability, and freely, without the pressure to meet a certain amount.”

The challenge was launched on July 29 and, according to the association’s website, raised over $100 million dollars in just its first month.

reporter@westerlynews.ca