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posted by Sandy Fails Comments: 1 comments

On Wednesday I dumped a pail of freezing water over my head as part of the “ice bucket challenge” for the Strike Out ALS campaign. I’ve watched my goddaughter, friends and coworkers do the same; in fact, Crested Butte must have a pretty high per-capita dousing rate by now.

“Trendy” has never been my middle name; most fads and crazes pass by me like tsunamis under a gently bobbing boat.  But this ALS ice bucket challenge is an odd fit for me – and for my hometown.

Eighteen years ago, my husband, son and I moved in with my mother to take care of her as she died of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). In less than two years, we watched her fade from a doting, zoo-strolling grandmother to a gaunt woman propped in a rented hospital bed laboring to pull in one more breath.

But Mom wasted no time on self-pity or drama. As her body failed, her sense of humor blossomed, and she used jokes and wise cracks to help us cope. When the going got rough, she turned on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” She didn’t “go down fighting”; she went down laughing. How she would have chuckled to see all these random people throwing ice water over themselves, gasping and hopping in red-faced shock.