Supporting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

More than 30 staff at the Abbotsford News completed the Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday to raise funds for the ALS Society of B.C.

Publisher Andrew Franklin and his staff were joined by Shirley Wilson, vice-chair of the Abbotsford board of education, and Allan Asaph, executive director of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.

The News' participation was part of a world-wide social-media phenomenon that has involved participants dumping buckets of ice water on their heads to raise awareness and funds for ALS – a progressive neurodegenerative condition more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease – and posting the videos online, while challenging others to take part.

The cause has special meaning to News' staff, as former employee Rhonda Graw has the disease.

Graw was on hand as News' staff took the challenge.

"I think it's wonderful," Graw said. "When I heard from Andrew (Franklin) . . . I couldn't believe it. He asked me if I'd come down, and of course, I wouldn't miss it."

Graw is a huge fan of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which is drawing crucial awareness and funds for research.

As of Friday (Aug. 22), the initiative had raised $53.3 million in the U.S., compared to $2.2 million during the same period last year (July 29 to Aug. 21).

Last year, ALS Canada set its fundraising goal for the year at $10,000. This year, it has set its goal at $3 million, after having raised $2.3 million as of Friday.

"Nobody knows what ALS is," Graw said. "So with this Ice Bucket Challenge going viral, it's bringing awareness. And hopefully with awareness comes money, and with money comes a cure. Because right now, they don't know what causes it, there's no treatment, and there's no cure. You just have it.

"This is bringing it to the forefront."

For more information or to make a donation, visit

Here are a few other Ice-Bucket challenges that have also been accomplished:

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