Dr. Robert Pascuzzi accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge (wibc.com photo: Ray Steele)
The now-famous ice bucket challenge was taken in Indianapolis by two people who could benefit directly from it.
"If we raise enough funds to fuel research, there are people out there with tremendous ideas that can be applied in the lab to come up with better treatments for this disease," said Dr. Robert Pascuzzi, medical director of the ALS Clinic at IU Health's Neuroscience Center. Pascuzzi accepted the challenge of not only a bucket of ice water dumped on his head, but also solo cups filled with ice water dumped on him by several of his patients; some of them can barely hold those due to the progression of what many people know as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
The ice bucket challenge has become a cause celebre around the country. It has generated almost $20 million in donations for the ALS Association since July 29, almost 20 times what the group raised during the same time period last year. But the challenge also has its critics, who say it's more about getting on YouTube than raising awareness for a devastating disease that typically kills those who have it within five years. "Those people probably have no relationship with anyone who has ALS," said Janell Mohr, who accepted the ice bucket challenge immediately after Pascuzzi. Mohr was diagnosed with ALS last November. "They do want to be in the media. They do want the attention. But I have 14 grandchildren, many of who have taken the challenge, and they are doing it for me."
Unlike many who have worn clothing more friendly to a dunking, Dr. Pascuzzi accepted the challenge in his suit, what he would typically wear to the office. "If you really care about the mission, you're going to go all out," Pascuzzi said. Among those who Pascuzzi challenged to follow his lead, Pacers president Larry Bird. Bird is supposed to complete the challenge within 24 hours, or otherwise make a donation of at least $100 to the ALS Association.
Dr. Robert Pascuzzi's complete Ice Bucket Challenge for the ALS Association (Ray Steele)