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IU Neurologist Takes ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ For ALS Patients

The 'ice bucket challenge' asks people to donate $100 to support ALS research or have a bucket of ice poured on their heads.

The now-famous ice bucket challenge, which aims to raise awareness and money for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, 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 ALS.

The ice bucket challenge has become a cause celebrated 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 views on YouTube than raising awareness for a devastating disease, which typically is fatal within five years.

Janell Mohr, who was diagnosed with ALS last November and took the ice bucket challange immediately after Pascuzzi, disagrees.

“Those people probably have no relationship with anyone who has ALS,” Mohr says. “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.”

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