Archdiocese: 'We don't support Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS Association'

FOX19/ Dan Wells
FOX19/ Dan Wells

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Chances are you or someone you know has done the ice bucket challenge for the ALS Association.
But the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is warning Catholics before they donate.

The Archdiocese doesn't support the ALS Association in particular because of some of its research strategies. They do support the ice bucket challenge and donations towards ALS research, but they think the money should go toward a different cause.

The viral videos from the ice bucket challenge have raised more than $31 million from July 29 to August 20 this year compared to the $1.9 million it received during the same time period last year. 
But not everyone supports where the money is going. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati says the national ALS Association funds one study that involves embryonic stem cells.

"Since the only way you can harvest embryonic stem cells is from an aborted fetus, we are morally opposed to that," said Steve Trosley.

Steve Trosley with the Archdiocese is encouraging Catholics to direct the money towards the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City which conducts research using only adult stem cells.

"I've had several Catholics tell me today that they were unaware of how different research is done for that disease," said Trosley.

But the local ALS Ohio Chapter says none of the money they receive goes towards embryonic stem cell research. It mostly goes towards patient treatment.

Yvonne Dressman with the local ALS Association Chapter stresses that donors have options.
"You can specifically state whether you want your money to go to embryonic research or not," said Dressman.

No matter which organization the money goes towards, the awareness for this deadly disease is growing.

"I think it's a fun way to do something positive but everybody that participates should also have a complete understanding of what it's all about," said Trosley.
"I don't care if you are the biggest movie star in the United States or the smallest little child out there dumping that water over your head, it's important and we're grateful," said Dressman.

Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and Tom Otten, principal of Elder High School, will still participate in the ice bucket challenge Thursday at Elder. They will each make their contribution to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa, since it conducts research using only adult stem cells, which is morally acceptable under Catholic teaching.

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