OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The ALS Association said on Thursday that donations from the ice bucket challenge have hit the $41.8 million mark. Over the same period of time last year before the challenge, officials said they had raised only $2.1 million.
On Thursday night, coaches from Ocean Springs High School made contributions after being drenched. In the crowd was the daughter of a man who lost his battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease back in May.
Kim Everett said her dad, Robert Mitchell, loved playing golf and cracking jokes, and he was good at both.
"Daddy was a joy. He was entertaining. He was always the life of the party," said Everett. "He was a very hard worker, a very kind, good hearted man. Very active."
A diagnosis of ALS last year took away Mitchell's active lifestyle. He was soon confined to a wheelchair and in constant pain.
"He couldn't even hold his head up. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't swallow and eat. He had to have help with every aspect," Everett said. "You don't lose your sight or your hearing. You don't lose your mind. You are aware of everything. Your heart still beats and your intestines work. That's it. You lose the ability to control everything else."
Everett made posters for the Ocean Springs High pep rally knowing the rally would include an ice bucket challenge. She said it means a lot to her family, especially since she is a retired teacher from the Ocean Springs School District, and her dad was a 1956 Greyhound alumnus.
"He was Mr. OSHS. He played every sport that they had. He lettered in all of them," Everett said. "We've been Greyhounds for generations, and the fact that they're taking the ALS challenge and wanting to commit to help really means a lot. It makes it so personal."
This week, Mitchell would have celebrated his 77th birthday. His family is celebrating that so many people care enough about those suffering from ALS do donate.
"If one person could hear it, and through a chain more help could come to families, that would be tremendous. Just to honor his memory and know that it's helping others. Every dollar counts. It helps other families," Everett said.