ALS challenge reaches Labrador West

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Labrador City mayor takes the 'ice bucket challenge'

What does Labrador City Mayor Karen Oldford have in common with billionaire Bill Gates, pop superstar Lady GaGa, and one of Canada's own homegrown hockey stars, Sidney Crosby?

Wabush Deputy Mayor Terry Curran soaks Labrador City Mayor Karen Oldford on the afternoon of Aug 20, after pledging the most money for the ALS 'ice bucket challenge,' a recent internet fundraising phenomenon that has everyone from everyday people to billionaires taking part and uploading their experience on-line. Mayor Oldford was challenged by a local youth to take part, and put a call out via Facebook for the highest bidder to earn the right to dump ice cold water over her.

She recently got a bucket of ice cold water dumped over her head.

Known as the 'ice bucket challenge', everyday people and celebrities have been flooding the internet with videos of themselves getting shocked with a bucket of cold water, all in the name of awareness and fundraising efforts for

ALS (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease).

According to the ALS Association website, ALS is progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. When these cells die, voluntary muscle control and movement dies with them. Patients in the later stages of the disease are totally paralyzed, yet in most cases, their minds remain sharp and alert.

The idea of the ice bucket challenge is to either have a bucket of water dumped over you, or donate $100 to ALS research.

Oldford was challenged by a young person in the community to take the ice bucket challenge, and she jumped on the opportunity.  

“I was at a meeting and one of the councilors said, ‘We should have put this out as a challenge, I’m sure lots of people would love to dump a bucket of ice water over the mayor,’” smiled Oldford. 

“I said ‘You’re right, they would. They should pay for that right.’” 

Oldford announced via Facebook whoever pledged the most money would get to douse her with ice cold water. Wabush Deputy Mayor Terry Curran earned the right with a $100 donation.  

Standing outside the Labrador City town hall  on the afternoon of Aug. 20, Curran gleefully stood over Oldford and drenched her head to toe.  

“It was surprisingly not as bad as I expected,” said Oldford.

“But it seemed never ending, so it started to get cold in the end. I think he poured it a little slow,” she grinned. 

Acorrding to, over $31.5 million has now been raised for the ALS Association.

As of Wednesday, August 20, The ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20),” stated the ALS Association website on Aug. 20.

These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to The Association.”

Oldford said her experience was well worth it. 

“This campaign has done so much to raise awareness for this terrible disease that strikes suddenly and without mercy. It effects all walks of life and age groups. If we can do anything to alleviate that burden through research then that’s what we need to be doing.”

To make a donation or find out how to take part in the ice bucket challenge, visit

Organizations: The ALS Association

Geographic location: Labrador, Labrador West

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