Locals take the Ice Bucket Challenge
By Geoff Belcher
Aug 23, 2014, 01:12
Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott, left; Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame; Waveland Mayor David Garcia; and Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer, on Wednesday took the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” in honor of Chuck Breath, seated.
The ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" made it to Bay St. Louis this week, with local city officials and most of the staff of Dunbar Village volunteering to have icy water dumped on their heads in order to raise money and awareness for ALS research.
On Wednesday, Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame, Pass Christian Mayor Leo "Chipper" McDermott, Waveland Mayor David Garcia and Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer all volunteered to get soaked at the parking lot of the new Bay Municipal Harbor.
"We were all here in support of the ALS community," Fillingame said, "but more to the point, we were here in support of one of our native sons, Chuck Breath, who is suffering from that illness. We're asking people not only to donate dollars, but also to pray for people who suffer with it and pray for a cure."
"This all started down at the (Bay-Waveland) Yacht Club last weekend," Katie Breath, Chuck's daughter-in-law, said Wednesday. "Corky and Molly Hadden were challenged and they challenged the mayors."
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, may be more commonly known as Lou Gherig's Disease.
According to a press release from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, "Here’s what generally happens, not necessarily in this order, and not necessarily over the same period of time: Muscles all over your body become weak and shrink. Limb by limb, body part by body part, you lose function. You cannot walk. You can’t use your hands.
"As your face and tongue muscles waste away, your speech becomes impaired and you lose the ability to swallow. In the disease’s final stages, muscles that allow you to breathe no longer function. You can become totally paralyzed. What’s keeping you alive is a ventilator and feeding tube.
"Your mind is as sharp as the day you were diagnosed, which likely happened two to four years earlier. You have feeling, but not movement. Your hearing and eyesight are usually just fine."
ALS is always fatal.
Chuck Breath was first diagnosed with the disease in 2012 at the Mayo Clinic. Since discovering the cause of his symptoms, Molly said, doctors in New Orleans and here have been very helpful, but there is still no cure.
"My father-in-law has been so great about it," she said. "He has a very positive attitude. He's taken it head-on. .. A lot of people have supported us because of the good things he has don and the life he's led."
Former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason’s Team Gleason has been a great source of support for the Breath family and other local and regional families affected by ALS, Katie said.
“Also, Thomas Genin, owner of The Blind Tiger, has challenged the Hancock County Board of Supervisors and the Bay St. Louis City Council to come to The Blind Tiger next Wednesday to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” she said. “Thomas will donate $100 to Team Gleason for each person that participates in honor of Chuck.”
The mayors on Wednesday also challenged some of the friends, co-workers and employees.
Fillingame challenged Police Chief Mike De Nardo; Deputy Police Chief Christine deBouchel; Fire Chief Pam SanFillippo; and Assistant Fire Chief Monty Strong.
Schafer challenged the entire Diamondhead City Council, including councilmen Ernie Knobloch, Joe Lopez, Blaine LaFontaine, Tom Sislow and Ron Rech.
McDermott challenged Long Beach Mayor Billie Skellie, Jr., Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes and D’Iberville Mayor Rusty Quave.
Garcia challenged Fire Chief Mike Smith and Police Chief Dave Allen.
On Friday, most of the staff members at Dunbar Village also took the Ice Bucket Challenge, raising $340 for ALS research.
“One of our team members was challenged, so the entire Village decided to support here,” Dunbar Village Administrator Michelle Daniel said.
Fire fighters from the Bay St. Louis Fire Department volunteered to dump the icy water on the participants.
“There are many of us here who have been affected by ALS,” Daniel said.
Dunbar Village also challenged the staff of Hancock Medical Center; River Chase Village in Gautier; Magnolia Village in Natchez; Peachtree Village in Brandon; Notre Dame Village; and Picayune Rehab Covenant Dove.
To learn more about ALS research, treatment and volunteering, go to Team Gleason’s website: http://www.teamgleason.org; or the ALS Association website: http://www.alsa.org.