U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross latest Florida lawmaker to take #IceBucketChallenge

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U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross is the latest Florida lawmaker to face the “ice bucket challenge,” in an effort to raise awareness — and money — for research into ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The challenge is part of a viral campaign that has thousands of individuals, celebrities and legislators—including fellow Floridians U.S. Reps. Joe Garcia and Patrick Murphy — pouring buckets of ice water over his or her head, while challenging others do the same or donate to the fight against ALS.

Proceeds raised by the challenge go to research into the progressive neurodegenerative syndrome ALS, which causes gradual deterioration of the nervous system.

The challenge began in Massachusetts with Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who has battled ALS since 2012.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease typically attacks people between the ages of 40 and 70, currently affecting as many as 30,000 Americans with 100 percent mortality rate and no known cure. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves only one drug to treat ALS, which only extends survival by two to three months.

 “People continue to pour ice water on themselves, and donations continue to flow toward finding a cure to Lou Gehrig’s disease,” Ross said. “The intended purpose of this challenge is to raise awareness in a unique and healthy way.”

“This ice bucket challenge reminds me of this same type of fun, engaging, way of encouraging others to donate for a good cause; in this case, Lou Gehrig’s disease,” he added.

Ross then challenged U.S. Reps. Austin Scott and Trey Gowdy to complete the challenge

Alissa Gutierrez, ALS Association Florida Chapter’s spokesperson, thanked Ross for his donation to assist in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“We are sincerely grateful for the Congressman’s participation in the #icebucketchallenge,” Gutierrez said. “This has been the most attention given to ALS since Lou Gehrig was diagnosed in 1939, and Congressman Ross is helping us move toward a cure.”

 Between July 29 and August 18, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received more than 307,000 new donors and $15.6 million in donations, compared to $1.8 million raised during the same period last year. The money goes to support ongoing research for treatments and a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

A video of Ross taking the ice bucket challenge is available on YouTube.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.