U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is latest person to take Ice Bucket Challenge

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U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is the latest person to take the “ice bucket challenge,” part of a viral awareness campaign that has flooded Facebook, Twitter or Instagram newsfeeds this week.

The challenge is to upload a video of someone dumping a bucket of ice water over his or her head to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative syndrome more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which causes gradual deterioration of the nervous system.

The challenge began in Massachusetts with Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player diagnosed with the disease in 2012.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease currently affects as many as 30,000 Americans. There is no known cure and 100 percent mortality rate.

After posting ice bucket videos to social media, participants challenge others to do the same to keep the cycle going. For those challenged, if they cannot accept within 24 hours, they are asked to donate to ALS research or another charity.

In a statement released by Mruphy’s office on Wednesday, the increased awareness from the ice bucket challenge caused ALS Association to receive 70,000 new donors in the past two weeks, raising about $4 million — a figure more than double of that raised during the same period last year. The money goes to support ongoing research for treatments and cures for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Fellow U.S. Reps. John Barrow of Georgia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona challenged Murphy, who took on the challenge to show his support for the ALS Association’s work in research and for the assistance they provide to families impacted by ALS.

Murphy has challenged U.S. Reps. Joe Garcia of Florida, David Joyce of Ohio, and Joe Crowley of New York.

A video of Murphy 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 phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.