Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Lisa Hanna takes Ice Bucket Challenge

Published:Tuesday | August 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Youth Minister Lisa Hanna gets doused with a bucket of ice-cold water at her office yesterday. - Contributed

YOUTH and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna, who has taken the Ice Bucket Challenge, says she hopes it will be a catalyst for the provision of resources to fund research on ALS, a neurodegenerative disease.

"People will give money for ALS research if they feel that the consensus for the goal has become a global movement. I believe the challenge has now made it global. I pray that it will not go in vain," Hanna said.

The government minister responded to the challenge from track and field superstar Usain Bolt to join the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has taken on a global flavour.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, which originated in the United States, went viral three weeks ago when the family of Pete Frates, a baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago, started a campaign. It has lit up social media, raising both money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The challenge involves people dumping a bucket of ice and water on their heads as a mean of raising awareness about the disease.

Hanna, who exclaimed, "Oh, my God! That's cold!" when the bucket of icy water was poured on her at her desk at the youth ministry, has laid down the gauntlet to American actor Malik Yoba, Gramps Morgan, of Jamaican reggae group Morgan Heritage, and Trinidadian cricketer Brian Lara to take the Ice Bucket Challenge.

"We live in a world where strong images have become important. If they are not unique or somewhat exciting, then people don't stop to pay attention. ALS is an awful disease and has been around for a long time. I know two people suffering from it. More time, research and awareness need to be given to find a cure," Hanna said.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is three to five years.

Celebrities such as Oprah, Justin Timberlake, Tyler Perry and Bill Gates have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The campaign has so far raised more than US$10 million in donations.