The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has reached the Final Frontier, with such Star Trek stars as William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, George Takei, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden and Robert Picardo participating in the wildly popular viral sensation.
Some background: People all over the United States have spent the past couple of weeks dumping buckets of cold water and ice over their heads and donating money to the ALS Foundation in honor of Pete Frates -- a 29-year-old former Boston College baseball player who's battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease -- and others afflicted with ALS. It was Frates and his family who first sparked the Ice Bucket Challenge. The progressive neurodegenerative disease affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, robbing the brain of the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which eventually leads to paralysis and death. There is currently no known cure.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge works as follows: one person nominates one or more people to either donate money to the ALS Association or dump a bucket of ice-cold water over their head, and they must do so with in 24 hours. In a perfect world, people will do both. So far, the craze has reached athletes, music stars, business leaders, politicians, former presidents and many, many actors and actresses. For example, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos challenged William Shatner, Patrick Stewart and George Takei. Shatner, who'd also been challenged by country music star Brad Paisley, and Takei, both accepted the challenge.
Meanwhile, Brent Spiner had 16 pounds of ice dumped on him by a friend, and Spiner then challenged Trek pals Armin Shimerman, Kitty Swink and Gates McFadden, noting that he'd "just like to see (McFadden's) hair wet." McFadden accepted the challenge, first sporting a blonde wig and speaking in a French accent, then removing the wig and turning serious for a moment, as she explained that "my own dad did die of ALS and I support ALS. I'm going to financially support them with a check, but I also want to accept the challenge because it's in good spirit." Kitty Swink, Shimerman's wife, then challenged Picardo, who took the challenge. And just today, Friday, August 22, Patrick Stewart accepted the challenge in his own classy way.
Who else from the Trek universe would you like to see take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? In the meantime, be sure to visit the ALS Association site at www.alsa.org/.