Corey Griffin, co-founder of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge, prepared to jump off the Juice Guys building into the Nantucket Harbor in Massachusetts.
It was Aug. 16, and he was celebrating the more than $100,000 that had been raised for ALS research. Thinking the dive was just an event to show support for his close friend Pete Frates, who had been diagnosed with ALS in 2012, he plummeted to his death and left behind his co-founder of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Peter Frates, and his family.
“Team FrateTrain lost a good friend today, Corey Griffin. Helping out was nothing new for Griffin. He held his own event for me back in 2012, just a few months after diagnosis. He worked his butt off these last few weeks for ALS. We texted every day, planning and scheming ways to raise funds and plan events,” Frates posted on his Facebook page.
The start of the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The West volleyball team prepared together for the dumping of ice water on their heads on the afternoon of Aug. 20.
“A.C. Reynolds’ varsity volleyball team called out our team to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” junior Sara Yarbrough said. “We all saw it as an opportunity to bond as a team and call out Hendersonville High’s volleyball team to help spread awareness across the county.”
The athletes carried out their challenge a day before their match with Reynolds, making a video with Head Coach Tiffany Lowrance.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $115 million for ALS research since August, and the funds have continued to grow.
“I really do feel the challenge spreading across the U.S. has raised a great amount of money  and awareness for the foundation,” Yarbrough said. “But there are definitely more opportunities to donate than people have been taking, and in that way we are slacking.”
Earlier this fall, it was nearly impossible to find a social media site that wasn’t filled with videos of people taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and challenging their friends to do the same. Individuals had 24 hours to complete the challenge or pay $100. People who completed the challenge were asked to donate $10.
“My friend Cody Bruinsma from New York nominated me to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I was really excited to do something fun, and I think the challenge raised more awareness because so many young people were interested. And young people have helped it spread across social media,” sophomore Chelsie Haettich said.
Critics see the ice bucket challenge from a different point of view. Some complain that many people turned a serious need for money for research and turned it into a game without ever donating. That was the case for a number of West students.
“I was nominated by Dalton Cole, and my dad helped me carry out the challenge one day after football practice,” freshman Grant McIntyre said. “I feel like although not everyone donated that it has raised a lot of money and awareness. I’m probably going to donate later on.”
Some students at West have been impacted by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the disease itself.
“Carlie Gillespie nominated me for the ice bucket challenge,” junior Tristan Tilson said. “I was actually really excited to do it because I have had a close family friend, Todd Overgaard, die of ALS two years ago. It brought more awareness to me and what it really is — a really hard loss.”

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