TODAY'S PAPER
79° Good Evening
79° Good Evening
Long IslandTowns

Famous LIers taking ice bucket challenge for ALS

Sarah Hughes takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

The cold never bothered Sarah Hughes anyway.

Over the weekend, the Great Neck native and Olympic figure skating champion accepted the ice bucket challenge that has been sweeping through social media.

In a video posted to YouTube Sunday, Hughes, 29, is seen sporting ice skates and a blue skating dress, which she says she stole from the closet of her sister, fellow Olympic figure skater Emily Hughes.

Hughes said she was challenged by an Olympic legend, speedskater Bonnie Blair, to take the challenge, which asks participants to dump a bucket of ice water over their head or make a donation to a charity dedicated to fighting ALS, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Some have chosen the icy waters in lieu of making a donation, while some have done both. Between July 29 and Aug. 13, the ALS Association has received $2.3 million in donations up from $25,000 during the same period last year, according to Dorine Gordon, president and CEO of the association’s Greater New York Chapter.

During this time, Gordon said her chapter received $160,000 in online donations alone. That’s up from $31,000 during those days last year. Gordon said there’s also been a surge in teams signing up for the Long Island Walk to Defeat ALS that the chapter will be hosting on Sept. 20 at Eisenhower Park.

One team that registered Monday even dubbed themselves the “Ice Bucket Challenge Team.”

It’s not clear whether Hughes made a donation, but she did dump a pot full of ice cubes over her head. (Apparently, she didn’t realize she was supposed to add water.) She also challenged her little sis to do so next.

Another well-known Long Island native, ESPN sportscaster Steve Levy has also taken the challenge. And New York Islanders John Tavares and Michael Grabner did it too.

Grabner, who was nominated by the team’s mascot, Sparky, executed his challenge outside Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Watch the videos here

Many other celebrities have also jumped on the ice bucket bandwagon, including actress Elizabeth Banks, teen heartthrob Ansel Elgort, of “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, comedian-actor Denis Leary and Martha Stewart.

Stewart accepted the challenge from “The Today Show” host Matt Lauer, who allowed himself to be doused in frigid water on live television during the show’s July 15 broadcast.

But not everyone has been up for braving the chilly waters.

Lauer invited another famous Long Islander, Howard Stern, to take the challenge, but the shock jock declined.

President Barack Obama also opted to dodge the cold dousing when nominated over the weekend by Ethel Kennedy, the 86-year-old widow of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.  

“Welcome to Cape Cod, President Obama. I nominate you, ” Kennedy said moments before dumping a bucket of water over her head. The White House responded by saying the president would instead be making a monetary donation to an ALS charity this week.  

Regardless of whether participants step up or pay up, Gordon said the viral campaign is spreading awareness about a disease not many are familiar with.

She said, “To reach a whole new audience is so important in our fight and enables us to fund more research to find an effective treatment and provide vital services to people and families living with ALS on Long Island.”

Latest Long Island News