Photo by Brandon Hicks

Why get doused? ‘Josh Wandell is family’

Published 9:16am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

For the Elizabethton Board of Education, it was a challenge accepted out of love.
Board chair Rita Booher and vice-chair Phil Isaacs accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge from Team Wandell in honor of East Side Elementary principal Josh Wandell after their meeting Tuesday night.
“We are doing this because we love you,” Booher told Wandell.
Team Wandell, Wandell’s supporters, issued the challenge to the school board after the viral Ice Bucket Challenge started to roll through Elizabethton last week.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is an online movement with the goal of raising awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Wandell was diagnosed with ALS last year.
Booher said it was a simple but effective way to shed more light on a disease that many people don’t know a lot about.
“I wasn’t very aware of ALS,” Booher said. “Josh Wandell is family, and you do things to help your family. This is not just his to carry. We are all carrying this along with him. If something as simple as having ice water poured over our head will get more attention for this, then it is worth it.”
Kelly Geagley, leader of Team Wandell, said that, since the online campaign started, $16 million had been raised for ALS research in three weeks.
“The whole purpose is to raise awareness, and to raise funding for ALS research,” Geagley said. “The man who started this was diagnosed with ALS and he said ALS was like having ice water thrown in your face.”
As is the purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge, the board issued a challenge of its own to fellow board member Grover May, who could not attend last night’s meeting, former board chair Matt Cooter and City Council member Richard Tester. Booher issued a personal challenge to Susan Finney.

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