With buckets of icy water and warm hearts, members of Tacoma Christian Reformed Community Church honored long-time member Gert De Kruyf. The “Ice Bucket Challenge”—an Internet sensation raising awareness of Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)—was the kickoff event for the annual church picnic on August 24 in honor of De Kruyf, who suffers from ALS.
It started when pastor Clay Warren poured icy water on his own head and then challenged the worship team, who in turn challenged council members.
De Kruyf was diagnosed in June 2013 with a rare form of ALS called Brait-Fahn-Schwartz disease that also includes sporadic Parkinson’s disease. Lori De Kruyf, Gert’s daughter, said, “She is on Facebook. Several extended family members had been doing the bucket challenge. It lights her up from the inside to see it.”
Council member Ken Gritter said, “As a council member, it was an honor to take the challenge in Gert’s honor. During her battle with ALS, she and Tony have never wavered in their faith and have always put their trust in the fact that God is good and has a plan for all our lives.”
The ALS Association Evergreen Chapter serves the Tacoma area. “The ALS Association Evergreen Chapter is grateful to everyone who has participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, donated and/or shared it via social media,” said Becky Moore, the chapter’s executive director. “For too long the general public has not known about the challenges people living with ALS face. Additional funds are now available for us to provide more free services to people living with the disease.”
The De Kruyf family has not only been blessed by the bucket challenge but by the care shown to Gert. Church members have brought meals and asked how they can help with day-to-day care. “It’s been pretty amazing,” said Lori. “They have been blessed by the church family. They have been a blessing to the church family.”