The leaders of Rutgers gladly submit to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
A dousing with ice water is rarely what the doctor orders, except in very special cases—one of them being in the fight to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As the school year got under way in September, Rutgers participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media blitz to raise funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing progressive paralysis and eventually death.
President Robert Barchi was all smiles as ice water contained in red buckets bearing the block R was dumped on him—and Richard Edwards, chancellor of Rutgers University–New Brunswick; Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark; Phoebe Haddon, chancellor of Rutgers University–Camden; and Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (who was doused twice over the course of a week).
All pain, no gain? Hardly. “We feel that it’s really critical to show that we are 100 percent behind the effort,” said Barchi, regarding the challenge, which thus far has raised $115 million. “I have a personal reason because in my life as a clinician, as a neurologist, I took care of many of these patients with ALS ... which is so devastating.”
There is no cure for ALS, which prompted the famous first baseman for the New York Yankees to give what became his legendary good-bye speech 75 years ago, on the Fourth of July. Gehrig, who played for 17 years, died of the disease when he was 37.