By Rhonda Massad
Oprah, Justin Bieber, Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, the New York Jets, Kermit the Frog, the Montreal Canadians, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, the Loyola High School football team, Bernie Marcotte and Heather Holmes of Lakeshore Hospital Foundation, WICS executive director Caroline Tison, activist attorney Brigitte Garceau, Jessica Newey of West Island Palliative Care, 120 staff members of Tenaquip and many more have all participated in the trending amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) ice bucket challenge. It has been an incredible turn of events that has brought millions of dollars in donations and awareness to a deadly disease.
The trend went viral over recent weeks as people challenge their friends and colleagues to dump a bucket of ice water over their head.
The ice bucket is shocks the recipient into a seconds long paralysis symbolic to what the victims of ALS suffer with. If the challenge is not met a donation must be made to ALS. It would appear most are both dumping and donating in the spirit of giving.
Last week executive director of West Island Community Shares, Caroline Tison challenged Tenaquip CFO Glenn Watt. Tenaquip, a Ste. Anne de Bellevue company employing over 350 people, was already in preparation of a company wide challenge. On August 21, 120 Tenaquip employees dumped ice buckets on one another in memory of Kenneth Reed founder of Tenaquip in the late 1960’s who died of ALS in 2006.
“My dad had it rough,” Joanne Reed, daughter of Tenaquip founder Kenneth Reed, told The Suburban,” he went from running a company with 350 people counting on him to being completely paralyzed within a year. In the end he was only able to blink his eyes while he was completely aware—it was devastating.”
According to Watt, Tenaquip will be matching donations dollar for dollar for all the employees.
“Its a little cold. There is an initial shock and you seize up a little bit,” Watt explained in an interview with The Suburban, “Hopefully this will raise a lot of awareness and money to help with research and we can find a cure for this dreadful disease.”
ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. ALS can strike anyone. The onset of ALS is insidious, with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms.
Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.
ALS kills 2,500 Canadians each year. There is no known cure at this time. For more information or to make a donation visit www.als.ca.