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Former IFD Chief talks about battle with ALS and ice bucket challenge

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By: Liz Gelardi

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Former Indianapolis Fire Chief Brian Sanford made an appearance in an ice bucket challenge video. The former chief did not get water dumped on him, instead he poured ice cold water on his son and daughter-in-law. Family and friends are dedicating their videos to Sanford. He has been battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, for the past three and a half years.

The ice bucket challenge is a fundraiser for the ALS Association. The challenge involves participants dumping ice cold water on their heads to raise awareness for the disease, then passing the challenge on to others. If someone refuses to accept the challenge they have to donate $100 to the association or a charity of their choice.

"They came up with an interesting way to do that and a fun way to bring awareness to the disease and to the fundraising campaign, that will hopefully lead to a cure to the disease. So I think that's the biggest benefit," said Sanford.

The campaign has gone viral, it's hard to log onto facebook without seeing a challenge video. According to the ALS Association, donations have exceeded $31 million dollars.

The disease forced Sanford to step down from his role as fire chief. He officially passed the title on to the new chief during a ceremony last week. Sanford has accepted a new position as Chief of Staff for the Department of Public Safety.

"My progression has been pretty slow, I've lost use of quite a bit of use of my left hand it's affected my right hand it's in my left leg so I don't walk quite as good as I did but still pretty fortunate, I get around pretty well," said Sanford.

Indianapolis Firefighters are planning a department-wide ice bucket challenge Friday, August 29 at 3 p.m. IFD plans to pass the challenge on to Indianapolis Metro Police Officers and the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

IFD officials ask anyone who has been challenged to consider donating to the local ALS walk. Registration is still open for the walk being held on September 27.