During the university’s first chapel of the school year, I joined a long list of well-known people around the globe who are taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In the last two weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has quite literally “soaked” the nation. Everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake has poured a bucket of ice water over his or her head.
This month, the ALS Association, a national nonprofit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease, issued the Ice Bucket Challenge to the nation. The challenge is to make and post a video of yourself being doused with a bucket of ice water then challenging friends to do the same. Those nominated have 24 hours to either accept the challenge or make a donation to the ALS Association.
My daughter Melinda Raymond, who serves as a board member of the ALS Association Tennessee Chapter, nominated me in honor of her uncle and my wife’s brother, Robert, who died of ALS a few years ago. Despite making a donation, I couldn’t escape the ice bucket. After being soaked on stage in front of students, faculty and staff, I made a president-to-president challenge. Student government association president Drew Watson has 24 hours to receive his own dousing in Bison Square.
In addition to my donation, Lipscomb University will host the Walk to Defeat ALS on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m., where thousands of people are expected to turn out to walk and raise money for the association.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis.