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ALS challenge: More than a bucket of ice

Three buckets of ice and water briskly poured over theology faculty Dr. Carol Blan and Dr. William Lyons. Blan and Lyons accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge in honor of the esteemed theology department secretary, Susan Lockhoff, who died last May of ALS one week after hooding.

Lockhoff served in the theology department for 18 years. She fought ALS for eight of them.

“It is unusual for someone to live as long as Susan did with ALS,” said Blan. “The Lord blessed her with a season in which the ALS arrested, but then it activated again, and she went from full days to half days. She began using a cane and eventually depended on a motorized vehicle.”

Dr. Blan said, despite battling the illness, with the help of trained student workers she never missed a deadline for the department.

“I told her she could not die until after hooding, and she finished strong,” said Blan.

Mary-Kathryn Tyson organized the undergrad open house party and incorporated the ice bucket challenge after David Fulmer challenged the whole department.

“I thought this would be a fun way to get the students involved with honoring Susan,” said Tyson.

The department created a fundraiser around the viral ice bucket challenge. Faculty members put their pictures on buckets. Students used donations to vote for the professor they wanted to receive the ice bucket. The professor receiving the most votes would accept the challenge.

“I voted for Dr. Lyons because I think he is the best professor,” said freshman Markus Michalak.

The theology students raised $135.98 for ALS research with a $2.58 difference between Lyons and Blan.

Lyons was chosen to receive the bucket of ice. However, in good sport Blan decided to participate with him. Together they huddled close and honored their longtime colleague Susan Lockhoff.

The department will divide the funds between ALS research and charitywater.org. The funds that ALS Association is receiving will be specified to support non-embryonic stem cell research.

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