N.J. lawmakers join the ice bucket brigade to benefit ALS research

 New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is dressed appropriately for the ice bucket challenge to benefit ALS research. The dousing took place Monday on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton. (Phil Gregory/ WHYY)

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney is dressed appropriately for the ice bucket challenge to benefit ALS research. The dousing took place Monday on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton. (Phil Gregory/ WHYY)

Sports stars and entertainers have helped raise money by participating in it. Now a half-dozen New Jersey senators have joined the ALS Association’s ice bucket challenge as they were doused with icy water Monday on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton.

Senate President Steve Sweeney was dressed for the occasion in T-shirt and shorts as he took his turn to have a bucket of ice water poured over him.

He said he was happy to join his five Senate colleagues in raising $30,000 and bringing attention to a serious illness, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, that attacks motor neurons, cells that control the muscles.

“But the best part, they all wore suits,” he said. “Not me, and that’s why I’m the Senate president. I know what to do.”

Dorine Gordon, the president and CEO of the ALS Association’s Greater New York Chapter, said interest in the ice bucket challenge might not have peaked yet.

“I thought it was dying down over the weekend,” Gordon said. “But Monday morning, I started getting calls again so I think we have another week to go, at least, of very strong activity.”

Nationwide, the association has raised more than $15 million to fund research into finding an effective ALS treatment.

Dorine Gordon is president and CEO of the ALS Association’s Greater New York Chapter. She says the ice bucket challenge is the group’s biggest fundraiser ever, Gordon said.

“It’s been incredible. Just in the local area in New Jersey we’ve raised $750,000,” she said.

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