On Sept. 4, West Chester University’s President Weisenstein joined millions of people supporting the ALS Association by undergoing the Ice Bucket Challenge.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken social media by storm, raising both awareness and millions of dollars for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. According to the ALS association’s website, “motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.” Famous physicist Stephen Hawking, who is another well-known victim of ALS, is almost entirely paralyzed due to the disease.
Since the Ice Bucket Challenge rose to popularity over the summer, the ALS Association has received an unprecedented outpouring of support. From July 29 to Aug. 27 alone, the ALS Association has received $94.3 million from more than 3 million donors, and the donations keep coming—including from many West Chester students and faculty.
President Weisenstein was nominated for the challenge by Frank Brogan, the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), as well as the mayor of West Chester, Carolyn Committa. Before he underwent the challenge, President Weisenstein nominated his entire cabinet at WCU for the challenge, and asked students with any change to spare to donate money to the ALS Association. President Weisenstein could only delay the inevitable for so long, however, and WCU’s mascot, Rammy, had the honor of dumping ice water all over the president of the university.
Since President Weisenstein issued the challenge to his cabinet members, Dr. Matthew Bricketto, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, has also undergone the challenge.
Clare Haggerty is a fourth-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at CH757342@wcupa.edu.