FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – What started in Boston with a man suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and a family looking for a way to raise awareness about the devastating disease, has now become a movement that’s sweeping across social media platforms, compelling people all over the U.S. to douse themselves in freezing water for a cause.

It’s called the “Strike Out ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” created by former Boston College baseball team captain Pete Frates.

CBS4's Lauren DiSpirito takes the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' and then immediately challenges CBS4's Kelly Werthman and Justin McHeffy (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Lauren DiSpirito takes the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ and then immediately challenges CBS4’s Kelly Werthman and Justin McHeffy (credit: CBS)

In March 2012, Frates was diagnosed with ALS, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects cells in the brain and spinal cord. Eleven days ago Frates created the challenge by using his website and Facebook to bring awareness to the disease.

Frakes is asking people to post recordings on social media sites that show them dumping buckets of ice cold water on themselves. If they don’t not accept the challenge within 24 hours they must donate to the charity of their choice.

Monday afternoon, at their headquarters off Timberline Road, members of Fort Collins Police Services accepted the call from the Arvada Police Department to take part, or pay up. Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto decided his department would do both.

“The charity we’ve chosen is Concerns of Police Survivors. It’s a charity that provides resources for families of fallen officers,” Hutto said.

More than two dozen members of his department accepted, including Hutto himself.

The Poudre Fire Authority helped Fort Collins police carry out the challenge by providing a tower truck, dumping water on the crowd gathered below.

“It was definitely a lot colder than I expected and it was a little bit more water than I anticipated thanks to (Poudre Fire Authority). I figured they would give us a little bit extra douse,” said Officer Annie Hill, who helped organize the event.

In 11 days the challenge has gone viral. A dispatcher in Douglas County answered the call by first doing an interpretation inspired by the movie “Flash Dance” before sitting under a bucket of water dumped from her roof. The wife of the late politician Robert Kennedy accepted the challenge from her home in Hyannis Port, Mass. Following the soaking, she challenged President Barack Obama to take part.

Frates’ family did not imagine such a widespread response, but added that their idea is working.

“We’ve really seen what we meant to do,” said Pete’s mother, Nancy Frates. “People are talking about ALS. They are understanding what this disease is, and guess what? Now wallets are opening.”

Since starting the challenge the ALS Association has reported receiving more than $160,000 in donations.

LINKS: Concerns of Police SurvivorsALS Association


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