Local society latest group to take ice bucket challenge

Jamie Bennett jbennett@thewesternstar.com
Published on August 20, 2014

More than 20 participants gathered in the late summer rain Tuesday and were willingly doused with frigid water.

It was all part of the ALS Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s participation in the ice bucket challenge.

For those like Rick Solo, the temporary discomfort paled in comparison to the daily struggle faced by those who battle the debilitating disease every day.

“Put it this way, it’s a lot less uncomfortable than what people with ALS go through,” Solo said. “What’s a bit of water?”

The Corner Brook man’s brother, Denny Solo, died as a result of the disease in 2011.

He said he has no doubt his brother, who was well-known locally for his talent as a drummer and also for his good nature, would have enjoyed such an event.

“Denny would’ve had a good laugh,” he said with a smile. “In fact, he probably would have held the bucket that got me the second and third time.”

The event started as a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge, and was inspired by 27-year-old Boston College baseball player Pete Frates’ battle with ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Since being launched less than a month ago, the campaign has raised more than $15 million in the United States alone.

Solo said although Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama have donated money to the cause, he’s disappointed the leaders didn’t join thousands of other celebrities and regular citizens in the icy undertaking.

“They did contribute monetarily, but I think it would have done worlds of good if they would have lowered themselves and said to heck with their dignity for five seconds,” he said. “So many other people did, so it’s a little disappointing.”

Another participant in Tuesday’s challenge was Julie Seaborn, chair of the provincial ALS society’s board of directors.

With plenty of participants and dozens more onlookers, she said the event was especially encouraging since her organization only started planning it last Thursday.

When asked how it felt when her turn came to be splashed, Seaborn was succinct.

“It sucked,” she said with a laugh. “You see it online and you think it will be a breeze, but it’s 20,000 times colder than you think it will be. But it’s all for a great cause.”