There were several ways to escape the bright steamy heat of last Friday afternoon: sipping a cool drink, taking in a movie, going to the beach or dumping a bucket of ice water on one’s head. Just as most people across the Chicagoland area were winding up their jobs, 12 intrepid realtors from Evanston’s @Properties office, 1821 Benson Ave., finished their work week with the ice bucket challenge.
The frozen dozen were responding to an in-house challenge and issuing a regional one. Debbie Magnusen, Andy Tsoukalis and Jeff Holcomb issued the initial challenge to their office-mates on Aug. 21. The next day, Managing Broker Don Shea, along with Claudia Schmidt, Dan Al-Bazi, Sabine Russo, Kevin Mack, Bram Chill, Shaya Goldmeier, Larisa Olson, Martin Uthe, Daryl Nelson, Michael Thomas and Cliff Sears hoisted the ice-and-water-filled buckets and drenched themselves while challenging their colleagues on the North Shore – @Properties offices in Lake Forest, Glenview, Highland Park, Winnetka and Libertyville – to do the same.
What is known as the “ice bucket challenge” has become a trendy fundraiser for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord for which no cure has yet been found.
Participants have varied the challenge as it has become the hot new fundraiser nationwide. At first, a person was challenged to donate to ALS research or have a bucket of ice water poured over his or her head. Now people are pouring the icy water over their own heads and heads of others, and, soaked or not, most everyone is contributing to ALS research.
Office Manager Carrie Sullivan said almost 300 @Properties agents on the North Shore are or would be participating. By Monday, the Evanston office had raised about $1,500, she said, and the challenged offices were doing their part. Lynn Heidt, a broker at the Evanston @Properties office stayed dry but said she was contributing a certain amount per dunk.
An Evanston Township High School classmate of Mr. Tsoukalis contracted the disease several years ago, said Mr. Shea. Mr. Tsoukalis led the Evanston office challenge, and funds raised by that and the other North Shore offices will go to the local ALS chapter.” It’s a good way to get involved in the community,” Mr. Shea said.