Two summers ago, players, coaches, management and staff members of the Nashville Predators, as well as Preds fans, joined millions across North America to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in an effort to bring awareness to the disease known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The premise was simple: once challenged, an individual had a choice to donate $100 to the ALS Association or dump a bucket of ice water over their head. The results were hilarious and generous, as awareness and funds were raised to continue researching toward a cure.
Two members of the Predators ownership group, De Thompson V and John Thompson, also agreed to match every donation for the initial $25,000 that was raised through the team. De Thompson, the CEO of Thompson Machinery, had others close to him affected by the disease, leading to his willingness to contribute.
As an organization, the Preds donated tens of thousands of dollars to the cause, with a bulk of the support going to Head Athletic Trainer Andy Hosler’s Walk to Defeat ALS after Hosler lost his father to the disease in March of 2008.
“It means a lot, and there may be some sort of development that comes from all this that may change the face of ALS,” Hosler said in August of 2014. “It’s just astounding to me, and I can’t express the gratitude that I feel toward anybody that’s willing to make a difference.”
Those involved were hopeful their support would make a difference in ALS research, and now that two years have passed, time has brought good news.
The campaign raised enough money for researchers to make a breakthrough in discovering a new ALS gene, NEK1, which now gives scientists another potential target for therapy development and brings them a step closer to finding treatment for the neurological disorder.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was more than just a summertime fad – it’s produced real results, something the citizens of Smashville had a hand in.
“I’m always excited to hear that there have been advancements towards possible treatment of this disease, and I’m so happy that the money we raised for that walk contributed in some way to this cause,” Hosler said. “There is still a long way to go, but any glimmer of hope is very uplifting. I would encourage everyone to continue their contribution to this cause, as it can change quality of life and start a global change for ALS research.”
The 2016 Nashville Walks to Defeat ALS takes place on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Lipscomb University. For more information, click here.
Below, take a look back at some of the Preds getting involved in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…