This summer, Jeff Swick has seen hundreds of videos on various social media sites of friends, athletes and celebrities taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Swick, the founder and CEO of Playing Hardball Against ALS, feels directly connected to each of the participants, whether it's an old college buddy or millionaire actor.
"It's turned into a craze, that's for sure," Swick said. "It's bringing a recognition to our cause that has never really been seen before."
ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE — Indian Creek assistant baseball coach Mitch Hukill and Redskins players Aaron Crawford, Jonathon Blackburn, Sam Blackburn, Gabe McCrew, Masson Gibbons, Jimmy Bolyog and head coach Mike Cottis take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday. Cottis’ Wintersville High School baseball teammate, Matt June, suffers from ALS. Cottis and other teammates from Wintersville teams of the early 1990s will take part in an Ice Bucket Challenge at the Sept. 6 Indian Creek football game against East Liverpool.
-- Matthew Peaslee
As for experiencing direct results to his 2-year old organization, the response is mixed.
"I've noticed the exposure of our shirts because a lot of people have worn our shirts in their videos," Swick said. "Unfortunately, we have not been blessed with a lot of feedback financially."
That changed on Thursday.
The Indian Creek baseball team, with head coach Mike Cottis and assistant Mitch Hukill, donned their PHAALS Foundation T-shirts and made a sizable donation to Swick's charity.
Cottis and Swick first met in summer of 2013 when Swick, a northwest Ohio native, was speaking at a coaches clinic in Columbus. Matt June, Cottis' teammate on the Wintersville High School baseball team, was diagnosed with ALS - or, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - in September 2009.
Swick came to Indian Creek High School, as June and his family drove up from Palm Harbor, Fla., for his special induction into the PHAALS Foundation Hall of Fame on April 25.
Cottis was presented with a special plaque at the ceremony that now hangs at John Muth Field, home of the Redskins, in Mingo Junction.
Cottis and his team helped take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge at the field on Thursday.
"People are saying the ice bucket thing is just goofy," Swick said. "I say, 'So what?' It's something that everyone from a 4-year old to an 80-year old can do.
"I'll watch a million videos of people dumping ice water on their heads if it means less families have to watch a loved one suffer from ALS. All you have to do is dump a bucket of ice on your head. It pales in comparison to not being able to tie your own shoes or brush your own teeth."
As of Tuesday, the ALS Association had received $22.9 million in donations nationwide compared with $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to Aug. 19), according to the organization's website.
On Wednesday alone, the organization raised $10.3 million. But Swick says those numbers can be skewed a bit.
"The percentage of what is being donated to research is not a lot compared to the money they've brought in," he said. "There's salaries to be paid and other expenditures to take care of."
That's not the case with his organization.
"We have no staff, everything we do is from volunteer services," Swick said. "We try to express to everyone that is aware of us, we really utilize every donation to give back - 100 percent of the donation goes into out programs. That's not for operating expenses."
The PHAALS Foundation puts on a Diamond Dreams program which allows someone suffering from ALS and their loved ones to take part in a bonding experience such as an RV trip across the country or a three-month long vacation in Florida. The organization also sponsors a scholarship and research grant.
The Redskins' contribution of more than $125 will directly help one of those three initiatives.