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Mitt Romney accepts Ice Bucket Challenge from Utahn with ALS
Research » The fundraising challenge has become a phenomenon on social media.
First Published Aug 22 2014 09:43 am • Last Updated Aug 29 2014 12:20 pm

A Salt Lake City resident who hasn’t let Lou Gehrig’s disease stop him from accomplishing his life’s goals inspired former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to take the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Romney posted the video on his Facebook page early Friday. It shows him standing on the rooftop of a Chicago building, wearing a dark blue suit with a red tie and his always-present American Flag pin. He thanked Utahn Creighton Rider for challenging him, along with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

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"And tonight I have a little help from one of my friends," Romney said as his 2012 running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., entered the picture. "Hey, buddy, how are you doing?"

Romney’s big smile changed only briefly and he didn’t move a muscle as Ryan doused him with a red bucket of ice water.

"That is cold," Romney said, before he instinctively ran his hand through his trademark not-a-strand-out-of-place hair.

Romney then extended the Ice Bucket Challenge to his wife, Ann Romney, and the actor who spoofed him on "Saturday Night Live," Jason Sudeikis.

Romney is one of hundreds of politicians, sports stars, celebrities and everyday Joes who have filmed themselves getting drenched in ice water and then writing a check to support research into the neuromuscular disease named for the famed baseball slugger Lou Gehrig. It’s medical name is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The Ice Bucket Challenge has become a Facebook phenomenon and has helped the ALS Association raise $41.8 million from the end of July to Thursday of this week.

Rider, who lives in Sugar House, was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. The disease has slowly robbed him of the ability to use his muscles or feed himself. It eventually will take his life. But that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his love of mountain climbing or other items on his "high-adventure bucket list."

In 2011, he summited Mount Waas near Moab, completing a goal of ascending the highest peaks in each of Utah’s 29 counties.

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He still rides on his Saints and Sinners relay team,with the help of his wife, Lisa, and a tandem bike.

On Tuesday, dozens of team members and friends met at Rider’s house to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. That’s where Rider challenged Romney, among others.

He talked with KUTV and said that currently in the battle against ALS, the disease always wins.

"Hopefully, with the research and more money for the research," Rider said, "we can level the playing field."


Twitter: @mattcanham

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