WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Several elected officials came together, “accepted the challenge” and took a bucket of ice cold water on their heads in Pelham on Friday to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88), Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano (D-11) and Pelham Supervisor Pete DiPaola participated in the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge," and allowed several local Girl Scouts to dump ice water on their heads.
The event was run in conjunction with the Anthony Senerchia, Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation, which promotes awareness of the disease and hopes to help find a cure. Senerchia is a Pelham resident and former member of the high school football team before being diagnosed more than a decade ago.
“This was an easy way to raise money to help find a cure for the disease,” Maisano said. “We’re rallying together today for the cause. Getting dunked in some water on a summer day is nothing compared to dealing with ALS.”
The “Ice Bucket Challenge,” has become a powerful fund-raising tool. When one “accepts the challenge,” they have water dumped on their heads and donate money to the charity, while challenging others. If one chooses to abstain from the ice bath, they must still donate money, including a penalty fee.
So far, nearly $3,000 have been raised through the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that will be donated to researchers at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan.
“ALS is a terrible disease,” Paulin added. “It’s a terrible thing to have your mind trapped in a body that is deteriorating and it’s important that we give it all the support we can.”
According to the ALS Center, the disease affects approximately two people for every 100,000 born each year. Its symptoms include a loss of motor function weakness and twitching and cramping of the muscles.
“This is an example of what Pelham is,” DiPaola said. “We come together like a family to help our neighbors.”