Community Ice Bucket Challenge will aid resident

Published on Saturday, 23 August 2014 23:10 - Written by Faith Harper fharper@tylerpaper.com

A polar vortex is taking the Internet by storm.

Celebrities, politicians and prominent business people alike have doused themselves in cold water to raise money and awareness for ALS, but today an East Texas community will come together to show support for one of their own suffering from the disease.

Whitehouse businessman and community member David Baskin was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — the degenerative disease commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” — in 2010.

A community-wide Ice Bucket Challenge will take place at 4 p.m. today in the parking lot of Whitehouse CrossFit, 427 Texas Highway 110 North, Suite 2.

Twice the Ice donated over 9,000 pounds of ice and the Whitehouse Fire Department will have a tanker with about 1,000 gallons of water on hand.

All participants need is a bucket.

Keri Baskin, David’s wife, will speak about how the disease has affected her family, and there will be buckets set aside for donations to the family and the ALS Association.

This is the second event the community has organized for the Baskin family.

Two years ago, a group of friends organized “David’s Day” at Wildcat Stadium.

Supporters walked on the track for David. They painted their hair and faces blue and made T-shirts to show their support. More than $39,000 was raised to help the family, said friend Jennifer Eckles.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over the Internet, pushing the normal display of cat videos and sloths to the side.

With the condition in the spotlight, Ms. Eckles said the community is banding together again for the Baskin family.

Mrs. Baskin said the lack of research funding has directly affected the family.

Into his first year of diagnosis, David had an opportunity to take part in a research study, but by the time the researchers got the clearance and funding, he no longer qualified.

“I can’t put it in words how excited we were about this challenge and how it took off with celebrities, with everybody, whether or not they really get it or understand what ALS is about,” Mrs. Baskin said. “The exposure it’s getting, I’m hopeful, hopeful it will draw some attention to the right people and the right places.”

Mrs. Baskin said the challenge has brought the highest level of awareness since Lou Gehrig’s diagnosis.

“I’m praying that people will take notice of his horrific disease, whether they feel led to donate or to participate, at least it’s getting attention,” she said.