Residents with ALS in family watch as Chimacum pours into ice water charity [Corrected]
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Chimacum High School Principal Whitney Meissner, left, and Vice Principal Dave Carthum participate in the ice bucket challenge Thursday. The privilege of dumping the water was auctioned to the highest bidder, which was the Chimacum football team's $75.
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Lori Carthum, left, listens as her daughter, Taylor, 15, talks about living with ALS. John Carthum, Lori’s husband and Taylor’s father, was diagnosed with the disease in 1995.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

Corrects: John Carthum was diagnosed in 1995 with ALS, he was told he had three to five years to live.


CHIMACUM — After public dunkings of the principal, vice principal and athletic director, Chimacum High School had raised more than $100 in contributions to the worldwide ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday.

The twist was that the person who donated the most money to the cause would get to dump the buckets, so the Chimacum football team pooled its resources to win that privilege with $75.

Team members poured ice water from buckets on Principal Whitney Meissner, Vice Principal Dave Carthum and Athletic Director Gary Coyan as about 30 kids looked on, many of them taking videos.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is intended to raise funds and awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that can lead to paralysis and eventually causes death.

Most commonly, ALS strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.

As of Wednesday, the ALS Association has received $94.3 million in donations through the challenge, compared with $2.7 million during the same time period last year, according to its website, www.alsa.org.

Slow-motion dunk

Molly Meissner, 12, posted a video on her Facebook page of her mother getting dunked in slow motion.

Mom Meissner, who said she almost never wears high heels, did so for the challenge.

“It's a privilege to stand here in high heels because many of those who are afflicted with ALS cannot stand at all,” she said.

Part of the challenge process is to “call out” others to participate, either to make a $100 donation or get dunked themselves.

Mom Meissner called out the “entire Port Townsend administrative team,” while Coyan challenged the Chimacum Marching Band, and Carthum called out his parents as well as new ABC News anchor David Muir.

Family connection

Carthum has a personal connection to ALS: His brother, John, has suffered from the disease since 1995.

Attending the event was John Carthum's wife, Lori, and his daughter, Taylor, 15.

“This has been so uplifting for us,” Lori Carthum said.

“For a long time, ALS hasn't gotten much awareness and the funding that it really needs to make a difference in terms of getting treatment or finding a cure.”

When John Carthum was diagnosed, he was given three to five years to live and was struggling financially, but “we decided to have kids and live our dream.”

Taylor Carthum and her brother, John, 18, have never known their father as healthy.

For several years, he was able to work remotely as a sales rep for Kraft Nabisco, but he now is completely disabled, his wife said.

“A lot of kids can do sports with their dad and stuff like that, but I don't have too many memories, or any at all, of him walking,” Taylor said.

“I've learned to not take things for granted,” she added.

“A lot of times when I hear kids talk about how they hate their parents, I realize how different it is for me because he could be gone any day.”

Said her mother: “It makes you appreciate each day.

“His attitude has been amazing, and it's what's kept us all going.”

Donations to support ALS research are being collected at the school, 91 West Valley Road.

The staff of Laurel Place Assisted Living in Port Angeles took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Tuesday afternoon.

________

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 01. 2014 9:15AM
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