08/20/14 — A shiver to find a cure

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A shiver to find a cure

By John Joyce
Published in News on August 20, 2014 1:46 PM

More than $31 million has been donated to the ALS Association as a result of the social media spawned trend sweeping the nation -- the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Goldsboro Fire Chief Gary Whaley took the challenge.

So did Goldsboro police Chief Jeff Stewart.

Up next -- if they answer the call -- are City of Goldsboro employees Jose Martinez and Scott Barnard.

"It's a for a great cause," Stewart said.

ALS is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease affecting the nervous system.

It began simply as a cold water challenge passed from one friend to another via videos posted to social media.

Friends and family all over the world were jumping into pools and fountains on bitter cold days after being called out with the challenge.

Cold water gave way to ice buckets and shaming gave way to challenging the next victim to donate money to a charity of their choice.

Then, as the story goes, a golfer changed the game.

According to media reports, Chris Kennedy, 26, a Florida-based pro-golfer challenged by his trainer and swing coach, passed the challenge on via a video posted July 14.

Kennedy's brother-in-law has ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease after the N.Y. Yankee legend whose career the disease cut short.

ALS, according to ALSa.org, is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that attacks the body's nerve cells and spinal cord. The disease affects moor skills, leading to muscle atrophy, paralysis causing a patient's physical deterioration and eventually death.

The illness has been tied to significant brain injuries and afflicts many professional athletes including former professional football and baseball players.

Kennedy's video spawned a cascade of videos passing on the ice bucket challenge, now with ALS attached to it.

And the tsunami has swelled.

Athletes and actors, college teams and professional sports league commissioners have taken the challenge and passed it on to others.

Now Goldsboro city officials and department heads are dousing themselves in ice cold water and calling each other out in the name of charity.