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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge

Highland student and teachers get wet to raise money for ALS research
By Xiomara Levsen | Aug 25, 2014
Pictured from left in front of the track at Highland High School are Highland High School student Nick Yoder, ELL Coordinator Cassie Goodwin, industrial technology teacher Brian Haymond, and English teacher James Higdon.    The picture shows the student and teachers dumping the ice water on their heads Friday afternoon.     Higdon organized the “Ice Bucket Challenge” at Highland High School in honor of his friend, Eric Lowen, who lived with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease for seven years.

A local high school participated in a fundraiser Friday afternoon that has become very popular on social media.
Highland High School student Nick Yoder and teachers Cassie Goodwin, Brian Haymond, and James Higdon did the “Ice Bucket Challenge” for the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association.
ALS, also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which causes progressive degeneration of the motor neurons and eventually leads to death, according to the ALS Association’s Web site.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has people getting drenched with buckets of ice water on video, the Web site said. The video is then posted on social media and people who are nominated can choose to either do the challenge or donate to an ALS charity.
Higdon saw the videos on social media and decided he wanted to do it in memory of his friend.
“I started the challenge here at Highland because I had a friend, Eric Lowen, who died of ALS two years ago,” Higdon said. “My friend, Eric Lowen, lived with his diagnosis for seven years.”
This was also a good way to get students involved, Higdon said.
“I asked students who wanted to take part to donate at least $5,” Higdon said. “Also, if students wanted to donate more they could get a shot at dumping the bucket on some select teachers.”
Higdon hopes this activity will help raise ALS awareness with the students.
“I would like them begin to see the world beyond their own lives,” Higdon said. “The hard truth of the matter is that some students will be affected in some way by the disease. I hope that by taking part of the ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ students here at Highland begin to see the importance of looking out for others.”
Haymond decided to do the challenge in honor of his father.
“In his late 50s he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease that masked ALS,” Haymond said. “This was during my junior year at high school.”
Once Haymond’s family learned his father had ALS they began making a monthly trip to Des Moines from southwest Iowa so his father could participate in research, Haymond said.
“My father was one of the few that had the disease so long,” Haymond said. “He was 73 when he passed. It was difficult seeing someone you looked up to not being able to do the simplest of tasks.”
Haymond’s father lived for 25 years with ALS and it didn’t stop him from doing everyday things.
“It didn’t stop us from family vacations, weddings, or Eagle Scout presentations,” Haymond said. “He knew what was going on even if he could not communicate that to us.”
Since Highland High School has done the challenge, Higdon said he would like to challenge the other schools in the Southeast Iowa Super Conference.
Haymond said he would like to challenge as many people as possible to take part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”

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