SPRINGFIELD — On Thursday, June 21, Springfield’s Fort Street, from Main Street to East Columbus Avenue, will be closed for a special Springfield Student Prince ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This is the second year that local organizers and ALS activists will come together to create this unique event to fight ALS.
Event organizers have planned the effort to raise funds for the Massachusetts ALS Foundation and specifically to honor local friends who have been stricken with the disease. Registration opens at 4 p.m., and ice buckets will deluge all at 5:45 p.m. Participants can also register online in advance by clicking here.
“So many of us involved in this effort personally know a victim of ALS,” said event organizer Bill Sampson. “When Governor Baker filed legislation last year making the Ice Bucket Challenge Week an annual event, we took it as a special challenge to us here in Springfield, now, to raise money for our friends with ALS. With just a few weeks of planning last year, we were able to fill Fort Street with people. We raised over $25,000.”
ALS, amyothropic lateral sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Last year, Baker held a ceremony with Pete Frates, the Massachusetts native who started the world-wide ALS Bucket Challenge. Advocates note that victims and their families endure many costs and challenges beyond what is covered by insurance.
“This started when a group of us were gathered at the Student Prince, wondering what we could do to help some very dear friends who have ALS,” Sampson said. “These friends are vibrant members of the Greater Springfield community who are used to giving help, not receiving it. We are keeping their names private at this time. We know that, with ALS Massachusetts help, we will be able to assist them in ways that they and their families are not equipped or trained to. All the money we raise will stay here to help them and, as a legacy to them, others.”