All around the nation celebrities, politicians and common folk have been dumping buckets of ice water on their heads – or getting friends to do the deed – and donating money to organizations that work on behalf of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease. And last week, the Little City’s business community – including Falls Church Chamber of Commerce’s Sally Cole – got swept up in the ice bucket hysteria.
It started last Monday afternoon when the team at Edible Arrangements on East Annandale Road announced they would accept the ALS ice bucket challenge from their franchise’s CEO Tariq Farid.
Last Wednesday, Taylor Smith, daughter of store owner Dawn Baaken, and Edible Arrangements staff members George Weiss and Oscar Soto, among others, dumped ice water on themselves. The store donated $100 to an ALS organization.
They also offered a voucher for chocolate dipped fruit to customers who took up the challenge at their store; the voucher’s cash value was $15 and the store owners asked customers to use the money they saved to also donate to an ALS organization. During their ice bucket challenge, the Edible Arrangements staff nominated Sally Cole, the Chamber’s Andrea Osborne-Alder and Chamber board member Gary LaPorta to take the challenge as well.
The same day Edible Arrangements took the challenge, MedTech College announced its plans to invite students and staff of the school to accept the challenge after a discussion with Ellen Cochrane, a care coordinator with the Washington-area’s chapter of the ALS Association.
On Thursday, Cochrane gave a presentation on ALS to students, faculty and staff at MedTech. “That’s the whole thing about this ice bucket challenge going viral is that people are learning about this disease,” Cochrane said. “I’m sure patients are thrilled that people are learning about this disease.”
After the presentation, some students, faculty and staff participated in a group ice bucket challenge in front of the school. MedTech College collected $154.76 from students, faculty and staff at the school to donate to the ALS Association.
Cole and Osborne-Alder took the challenge on Thursday, too, with LaPorta dumping water on the Chamber’s executive director and assistant director as they held their office plants. LaPorta’s message: “Make a donation. Take the challenge. But don’t waste the water.”
Cole, Osborne-Alder and LaPorta nominated the entire Chamber executive committee to take the challenge and executive committee member Erik Pelton of Erik M. Pelton & Associates accepted the challenge later that day.
Bikenetic owner Jan Feuchtner announced last Tuesday that he wouldn’t be dumping ice on himself – instead he donated $300 to the ALS Association in honor of three people he knew who died from the disease.
“I didn’t really know much about ALS until a friend of mine’s aunt was affected by it, I saw my friend’s mother posting about it on Facebook and it wasn’t until she started posting about her sister’s deteriorating condition that I took notice of how unbelievably quick it acts and how detrimental it is,” Feuchtner said. “It’s good, in a way, whatever the ice bucket challenge has done for awareness of ALS but I figured it would be good just to go ahead and make the donation without any precursor.”