Finding a Cure for ALS One Ice Cube at a Time
Eager onlookers cheered and shouted as pre-doctoral class representatives doused Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter with two massive buckets filled with ice water. Drs. Guarente and Calabrese were soaked right alongside him—and it was all because of Dr. McManama.
On August 22, 2014, Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Dr. John Guarente, and Assistant Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Calabrese joined together on the patio outside Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) to get buckets of ice water dumped on their heads to raise awareness and support for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. They did this in answer to a callout posted on the GSDM Facebook page from Professor in the Department of General Dentistry Dr. Carl McManama.
As a part of the Ice Bucket Challenge, those getting dumped on nominate three other people to donate, get ice water dumped on their heads, or do a combination of both. Dean Hutter stretched the rules a little bit and nominated Director of the Group Practice Experience and Team Leadership Dr. David Russell, Ad Interim Chair of General Dentistry Dr. Celeste Kong, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Cataldo Leone, and the entire Executive Committee consisting of 18 other people. He challenged them to have ice water dumped on their heads as well as make a donation to an ALS foundation of at least $100.
In response, on September 3, 2014, Dr. Russell rallied all of the Group Practice Leaders that were around that day, and together they doused each other in a line one after another. In an email to the School, Dean Hutter said, “It means a great deal to me and our School to have you participate in this very special fundraising event in support of the ALS Foundation finding a cure for this dreadful disease.”
The next day, Dr. Leone, Dr. Kong, and—representing the entire Executive Committee—Assistant Dean of Faculty Development Dr. Judith Jones, joined together in front of the school for their icy inundation.
The awareness raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge held special significance for Group Practice Leader Dr. Karen Quigley, whose mother passed away from ALS. “The momentary hurt from the ice water ended quickly, but my mother’s affliction with ALS took two years to end,” she said. “She lost her ability to speak, to stand, to walk, to eat. Paralysis triumphed. At the end, she could still use one finger to communicate on her computer. As hard as it was for us to believe, throughout her two years, my mom remained cheerful. My mother was very fortunate; so many others don’t have it that good.”
She continued, “During her two years with ALS, my family spent a bundle of money accommodating the disease. Many people cannot afford to do that. I hope awareness of ALS is increased through the Ice Bucket Challenge and that it encourages people to financially support ALS organizations.”
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started by several individuals affected either personally or through a familial connection by ALS. The Challenge was an attempt to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease and encourage people to donate to help support ALS research. As of an October 2 press release, the tour de force had pulled in around $21.7 million for the ALS Association.