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New London — Standing under the whale tail statue on Parade Plaza on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio prepared to take the plunge.
The mayor accepted a challenge to participate in the nationwide Ice Bucket Challenge, a campaign to raise money and awareness for ALS —or Lou Gehrig’s disease — which has exploded into the mainstream thanks to social media.
The challenge calls for a participant to douse themselves with a bucket of icy cold water or make a donation to an organization that helps fight the disease.
“Let’s do it, Whaler pride,” Finizio exclaimed before the captains of the high school football team poured a Gatorade cooler full of ice water over the mayor’s shoulders.
Just before enduring his cold shower, Finizio called out Day columnist David Collins to take the challenge himself.
“If he needs help, I would be happy to pour it on him for him,” the mayor said.
The Ice Bucket Challenge started spreading like wildfire across social media platforms thanks to former Boston College baseball player Peter Frates, 29, who has ALS and has worked with the ALS Association’s Massachusetts chapter.
“ALS is a devastating disease, and if getting a bucket of ice water poured on my head can help raise awareness and bring in donations for research, I’m happy to do it,” Finizio said in a statement.
Since July 29, the ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year. At least 453,210 donations have come from first-time donors, the association said. Donations can be made at www.alsa.org.