Dunk for a cause in Rockerville

By Leslie Silverman

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The Gaslight Restaurant in Rockerville will host an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) ice dunk challenge fundraiser. The event takes place Aug. 10 at 2 p.m.

Cathy Little Bull, who along with Tracy Spaans is organizing the event, says that ALS is a cause near to her heart.

“We have lost five family members to ALS as well as several friends,” Little Bull said. “For us, it is very personal because our family carries the ‘Familial ALS Gene,’ which is the genetic or hereditary type of ALS. Our mission is to help raise money to fund research to help find a cure. Tracy and I decided we needed to do something to help find a cure; we want to stop this horrible disease.”

ALS, also often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, according to the ALS Association’s website.

“Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body,” the website reads. “The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”

The fundraiser, which is in its fifth year, has raised over $10,000. The money goes directly to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a nonprofit biotech which focuses 100 percent of its efforts on ALS research.

The event includes local music from 4-8 p.m. as well as a silent auction, giant yard games and a sawdust pile treasure hunt for children.

The dunk tank is a version of the ice bucket challenge, a fundraising activity long associated with ALS.

“Anyone who is willing can volunteer to sit on the dunk tank, or you can nominate someone for $20, which include the first three shots at dunking them,” Little Bull said. “After that, each person who wishes to dunk that individual can pay $10 for three chances. If someone is nominated, and refused to sit in the ‘Hot Seat,’ they can buy out their nomination for $50 and then can’t be nominated again.”

The Gaslight’s event is getting bigger and bigger thanks in large part to the volunteers and businesses that donate items to the silent auction or time to the event.

”Without the support of all these people, we never would have had a second annual, and here we are with our fifth annual, and it’s getting bigger and better every year,” Little Bull said.

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