USF Neurology, home of this region’s ALS Center, takes a united Ice Bucket Challenge [VIDEO]

They study, treat, and support every aspect of ALS, so it’s only fitting that the researchers, clinicians and staff from the USF Health Department of Neurology would team up to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a world-wide push to raise awareness and funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began nearly three weeks ago when 29-year-old Pete Frates, who has ALS, posted a video challenging others to pour buckets of ice water over their heads within 24 hours. The video went viral, leading other participants – including celebrities, CEOs, and politicians – to shoot videos of themselves dumping ice buckets and then challenging friends to do the same within 24 hours or donate to the ALS Association (people tend to do both). The effort has reached millions across social media and raised more than $31.5 million for ALS, as of Aug 20.

ALC Ice Bucket Challenge 1

USF Health is home to the USF Health ALS Center, which provides multidisciplinary comprehensive care to ALS patients and conducts research seeking new treatments and a cure.

As for this USF Health Neurology Ice Bucket Challenges, nearly 30 people, each with a bucket filled with ice water in front of them, gathered on the steps in front of the Carol & Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare. After a brief introduction by Emily Wingate (daughter of an ALS patient at the USF ALC Center), Dr. Clifton Gooch (chair of Neurology in the Morsani College of Medicine), Dr. Tuan Vu (director of the USF Health ALS Center), and Dr. Lara Katzin (co-director of the USF Health ALS Center), and a count to three, they all lifted buckets and poured the freezing wet contents over their heads to a roar and applause from onlookers and some cheers of “Go Bulls!”

As is part of the Ice Bucket campaign – to challenge others to participate – the group challenged the student body of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a deadly disease that progressively paralyzes its victims, attacking nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. Patients are robbed of the ability to walk, eat, speak, and eventually, breathe, and most live for just two to five years after diagnosis.

Witnessing the fun was Gina Rathbun, director of physician and community relations for the USF Physicians Group, who is a patient in the ALS Center.

“We want the funds raised from this kind of event to go to research, which has always been underfunded,” Rathbun said. “Those funds allow for more clinical trials, which are critical to finding answers.”

Participating in the USF Neurology ALS Ice Bucket Challenge included: Dr. Clifton Gooch, Dr. Tuan Vu, Dr. Lara Katzin, Lise Casady, Dr. Frank Delgado, Dr. Rebecca Edgeworth, Brittany Golden (ALS Clinic Co-Coordinator), Juliana Gordon, Hiram Green, Ieisha Hall, Kristin Huynh, Linda Jones, Nichole Jones, Stephanie Kelley, Heather Klein, Jennifer Kuenning, Theresa McClain, (ALS Clinic Nurse Practitioner), Eileen Massey, Vicky Mastorides, Ashley Meeke, Jessica Moret, Vanessa Rivera, Joseph Staffetti, Carshena Tisdale, Natalie Tucker (ALS Clinic Coordinator), Dexter Werner,  Emily Wingate, Kristin Winkler, Dr. Eric Vernier, and Kayla Zayas.

If you would like to support research at the USF ALS Clinic, click here to donate now.

Local media attended the event and got Dr. Gooch's reaction to the cause.

Local media attended the event and got Dr. Gooch’s reaction to the cause.

They all punctuated the event with a Go Bulls!

They all punctuated the event with a Go Bulls!

Co-organizer of the USF Neurology Ice Bucket Challenge Brittany Golden.

Co-organizer of the Neurology ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Brittany Golden

Video by Jesse McLane

Photos by Rebekah Wright, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine

Story by Sarah Worth, USF Health Office of Communications