SPRINGFIELD — Today, Aug. 29, Springfield’s Fort Street, from Main Street to East Columbus Avenue downtown, will be closed for a special Springfield Student Prince ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Event organizers have planned the effort to raise funds for the Massachusetts ALS Foundation and specifically to help people in the community who have been stricken with the disease. The event begins at 4 p.m., and organizers are encouraging participants to arrive no later than 3:30 p.m., as well as to register online by clicking here.
“When Governor Baker recently filed legislation making the first week in August each year the Ice Bucket Challenge Week, we took it as a special challenge to us here in Springfield, now, to help before the month of August ended. We did not want to wait until next year to begin this tradition,” said event organizer Bill Sampson. “We have just begun, and the response has been overwhelming, from people donating online to people planning to join us on August 29. Our goal of raising funds to help those with ALS receive the special care ALS Massachusetts can provide them, combined with this being a great end-of-summer event where people can have some fun doing something great, has generated a lot of interest.”
ALS, amyothropic lateral sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. There are many costs and challenges that victims and their families endure, beyond what is covered by insurance.
“A group of us were gathered at the Student Prince, wondering what we could do to help. We know ALS Massachusetts really does some amazing things for the people they serve. They have the expertise and experience that most families are not equipped or trained to provide,” Sampson said. “Mayor [Domenic] Sarno and the city, the owners and the staff of the Student Prince and the Fort, have been instrumental, in just a week of planning, in helping us make this happen. We already have significant sponsors and know that we will have more names to announce, as well as the possibility of some very special guests who will attend. The Blue Head Band is donating their time and talent.”
Event sponsors include BID Springfield, the Massachusetts Lottery, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Rondeau Ice, Snap Chef, the Springfield Thunderbirds, A.L. Cignoli Co., and the Student Prince and Fort, Sampson noted, adding, “we deeply appreciate Rocky’s Ace Hardware for the donation of 300 buckets, and more if we need them.”