ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It was an icy start to the school year for staff at Meadow Glens Elementary School in District 203, as they joined millions of others, doing the ice bucket challenge for ALS.

Thirty staffers took the plunge for a cause that’s near to their hearts, raising awareness for their fellow teacher, Chris Benyo and his wife, Denise DiMarzo, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010.

“My wife is in the battle of her life right now and the staff and the parent community here just back me up forever,” said Chris Benyo, physical education teacher at Meadow Glens Elementary School.

“Denise Benyo has been an inspiration to us and because of her, she inspires us to do things that we might not have ever done before, and she is positive, she is outgoing and we can learn so much from her,” Amber Shaner, Art teacher at Meadow Glens Elementary School.

This summer has been rough for Denise, but she’s found hope in the show of support.

“She’s been watching on Facebook the different people doing the ice bucket challenge and a lot of them are saying it’s for Denise Dimarzo,” said Benyo. “She gets a huge smile on her face which has been absent honestly a lot of the summer.”

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a neurological disease that causes muscular weakness, difficulty speaking and swallowing and complete paralysis in the body.

The ice bucket challenge was started in Boston as a way to raise awareness. Participants douse themselves with ice cold water, then, nominate others to do the same, or fess up and donate money to the ALS cause. It’s paid off, not just in dollars, but recognition as well.

“This kind of awareness is unprecedented in the world of ALS and we’ve actually seen a 9, 000% increase in our donations since this ice bucket awareness campaign has started, which is incredible. It’s given so much hope to our patients and their families,” said Jordyn Frick, Marketing and Communications Manager for Les Turner ALS Foundation.

“I’ve had friends tell me that their kids are saying what’s ALS? There you go, that to me is the most important thing, that people are understanding what it is,” said Benyo.

If you’re up to take the challenge, there’s still time to do so until the end of August.

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