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Buckets of money: ALS challenge has been boon for donations

08/15/2014 11:18 AM

08/16/2014 12:18 AM

*ICE BUCKET UPDATE* -- Jim Harbaugh said he will accept the ice-bucket challenge. But not Pete Carroll’s challenge.

“Got another challenge with him,” Harbaugh said. Which one? “I think you know what that one is -- the big one,” he said.

Instead, Harbaugh said his brother, John Harbaugh, had extended him a challenge that predated Carroll’s. “As usual, late to the Internet party on that – Twitter, Instagram, etc. I always seem to be behind, not on the cutting edge or cusp of those things.”

Harbaugh will be doused before today’s 5 p.m. practice. He challenged the team’s beatwriters -- as well as Barack Obama and George W. Bush -- to take part. This beatwriter will decline and instead make a donation to the ALS Association.

SANTA CLARA -- It's not exactly Aaron Burr v. Alexander Hamilton, but a challenge has been issued. Specifically: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has challenged rival Jim Harbaugh to have a bucket of ice water dumped on Harbaugh's head.

No, no, no, it’s not more Seahawk-49ers animus. It's for a good cause – benefiting ALS patients and ALS research. According to the the ALS Association, which recently has seen a huge influx of donations, the origin of the challenge is a bit fuzzy. Apparently it started with a family of an ALS patient and began spreading from there. It really took off when it reached Peter Frates, a 29-year-old former Boston College baseball captain who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012.

Since Frates took the challenge last month, everyone from Martha Stewart to Mark Zuckerberg to Peyton Manning has been dumping a bucket of ice water over their head and then challenging three other people to do the same. Anyone who declines is expected to make a donation – usually $100 – toward fighting ALS. Most of the people who take the challenge end up donating anyway, which is why the ALS Association has received a massive boost in the last two weeks.

Since July 29, the association has received $9.5 million in donations compared to $1.6 million during the same time period last year. The donations were from existing donors and 184,812 new donors.

Spokesman Greg Cash noted that Carnival Cruises recently pledged $100,000 in donations. Oprah Winfrey tweeted that she would take the plunge when she returned from traveling. Donations to the ALS Association can be made at www.ALSA.org/donate.

Carroll took the so-called ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge earlier this week with help from quarterback Russell Wilson and tight end Zach Miller and, as per the rules, challenged three others to do the same. In his case, he called on the other NFC West coaches.

Arizona's Bruce Arians has done it. So has St. Louis' Jeff Fisher. Harbaugh? We're still waiting on his decision.

From the ALSA: Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that modestly extends survival.

About This Blog

Matt Barrows was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Sacramento Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the San Francisco 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green. Reach Barrows at mbarrows@sacbee.com.
Twitter: @mattbarrows

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