People along the Hi-Line have had a good time this month challenging friends to pour ice-cold water over their heads as a way of raising funds for the ALS Association.
People have found the whole process rewarding, but perhaps none as much as Paul Tuss, the executive director of Bear Paw Development Corp. and chair of the Montana Board of Regents, and Havre resident Brendan Brady.
Tuss' mother died from ALS in 2002, and his wife, Pam Hillery, has the disease now.
Brady dropped water over his own head. Under the rules of the game, he can then challenge others to take the water treatment. Nine people have taken part because of what he started.
Tuss said that on average, about two people for every 100,000 come down with the disease, but the city of Havre and his family have had an exceptionally high rate.
Three people in Havre have the disease and two others recently died, he said. Brady, Dan Stratton and Pam Hillery have the disease today.
Tuss said it has been inspiring seeing his wife get up and go to work every day despite the pain and inconvenience of the disease which is almost always incurable.
She has been writing a blog about her experiences, and wrote a column about the disease and her experience for the Havre Daily News.
She and Tuss are raising funds for the Missoula Walk to Defeat ALS which is set for Saturday, Oct. 4.
The two determined people are waging a good-natured war to see who can raise the most for the event.
If she can, Hillery will send links to the ALS website to anyone whom Tuss has sent one to. She wants to get credit for the donation.
"Not that it doesn't all go to the same place," she said. "It's just me trying to beat Paul."
Nationwide, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $41.8 million as of Thursday. Last year at this time, $2.1 million had been collected.
Challenge events have taken place all over town:
• Chancellor Jim Limbaugh at Montana State University-Northern and a group of administrators and coaches have taken part in the challenge.
• The Northern volleyball team got all wet for a good cause and challenged the wrestling team to take part.
• At Bear Paw Credit Union, employees chilled out,
• The Havre Daily News advertising department got a chilly reception on 2nd Street Thursday.
• After Tuss froze for the cause, he challenged Lt. Gov. Angella McLean, who is going to be drenched soon.
• Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead got soaked and then challenged his Democratic colleague to the north, Montana's Steve Bullock as well as South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Bullock took a dousing and challenged the editors of Montana's eight daily Montana newspapers, most of whom have already gotten or will today get drenched.
• ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
• It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand people annually.
• Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, the disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
• About 20 percent of people with ALS live five years or more, up to 10 percent will survive more than 10 years and five percent will live 20 years.
• Read Pam Hillery's blog about dealing with ALS, online at http://eachdayisjoyful.blogspot.com
• If you or your organization have participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge and you want to portray your boss in an unflattering light, post it to the Havre Daily News Facebook page.
• You can donate to Paul Tuss to walk in the Walk to Fight ALS in Missoula on Oct. 4 at https://secure2.convio.net/alsa/site/Donation2?idb=769430324&df_id=29499&29499.donation=form1&FR_ID=10130&PROXY_ID=4211493&PROXY_TYPE=20#.U_enP7xdVvb
or for Pam Hillery to walk at https://secure2.convio.net/alsa/site/Donation2;jsessionid=92F6A8B39B2EFAFB8EEBF2C2FF04EBD5.app214a?idb=1762499566&df_id=29499&29499.donation=form1&FR_ID=10130&PROXY_ID=3866223&PROXY_TYPE=20#.U_eBWbxdVvZ