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Carnival Heats Up Ice Bucket Challenge

You’ve heard, no doubt, about the Ice Bucket Challenge. How celebrities and non-celebrities are dunking themselves with buckets of ice to raise awareness — and money — to fight ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It’s spreading much faster than the disease. That’s good.

The first cruise line to get involved is Carnival. It will surely not be the last. It started with a clever Carnival cruise director named Matt Mitcham. On the Breeze, he drenched himself with 150 gallons of icy water, then challenged other Carnival cruise Ice Bucket-Cahilldirectors to do the same thing. The “challenge” is to pour a bucket of ice water over your head, or make a donation to ALS within 24 hours.

Many do both.

Mitcham’s move went up and down the Carnival food chain. You had to know the most famous of cruise directors, John Heald, would be first in line. He was on the Miracle at the time, in Alaska. When it comes to Alaska, there’s ice…and there’s ice. Brave is the person who has an ice shower in the 49th state.

Heald did, of course. As did President and CEO Gerry Cahill, albeit in the temperate climate of  Miami, in front of company employees at Carnival headquarters. Celebrities connected to Carnival — comedian George Lopez, deejay DJ Irie, food guru Guy Fieri — are all complying.

This phenomenon is world-wide.

Ice Bucket-CrosbyCelebrity participants run from 27-year-old hockey superstar Sidney Crosby (somewhere under the blue box) to 86-year-old famous family matriarch Ethel Kennedy (86) — see video — and she challenged President Obama to get in line. Perhaps strangely, Obama opted only to make a donation. Perhaps the White House was short of towels.

And just last night former major league star Ken (Hawk) Harrelson, now a Chicago White Sox broadcaster and soon to be a member of the club, said this about the phenomenon:

“It’s unstoppable.”

The seed is believed to have been planted by Pete Frates. The Boston College star athlete was diagnosed with ALS more than two years ago. He first issued the challenge on social media. Today, he has been silenced and unable to swallow by the disease that made a famous major league ballplayer from 80 years ago even more famous in death.

Along the way, the idea picked up celebrities, and nothing makes an idea grow faster. In the last month, ice-bucketing has raised $2.3 million for the ALS Association. For this year, that figure has climbed to $15.6 million, compared to $1.8 million for the same period in 2013.  One of the 300,000 contributors this year is Carnival Cruise Lines, which added $100,000 to the pot. Besides the money, the campaign has delivered millions more in awareness.

Participants join the Ice Bucket List, giving a new twist to everybody’s Bucket List.

And beating ALS is on everyone’s.

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruise news, views and gossip…from the ships at sea

Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
7 nights
September 21, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): Coco Cay, San Juan, St. Maarten
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57

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