Local community takes part in viral campaign for ALS

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A local college president is taking part in a viral campaign that involves ice water for a special cause.

Stephen Ainlay, the president of Union College, filled a bucket with ice water and dumped it over his own head Thursday – all to fight Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, it is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

The challenge began with Beverly, Mass. resident Pete Frates, who kicked off the #IceBucketChallenge with his family on social media sites Facebook and Twitter. The 29-year-old has lived with ALS since 2012. ALS.org states that the former Division 1 college athlete with Boston College Baseball, Frates tirelessly spreads awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

According to the website, the challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, and then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice. Those that participate also donate. 

Ainlay says he was asked to take part by his son, and he stepped up in order to spread awareness.

“It’s simply an attempt to make sure that the disease is not forgotten. It’s still a devastating illness. It affects the lives of many people,” said Ainlay.

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