The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has helped raise more than $30 million for the ALS Association (ALSA) in the last month. College football coaches and programs around the country have been participating, but for one SEC player, the movement means more.
Georgia senior offensive lineman Watts Dantzler lost his father, former UGA letterman Danny Dantzler, to ALS five years ago. Watching the Ice Bucket Challenge spread across the country has been incredible for his family.
“It’s such a terrible disease,” said Dantzler, per the Macon Telegraph. “With everybody helping out, tons of celebrities and stuff, it’s skyrocketed the normal donations, which is awesome. Hopefully that can make headway for an advancement of some things that can help slow it down or completely stop the disease.”
Dantzler was just a freshman in high school when his father received the diagnosis. Doctors believed that he had the disease for more than a year when the diagnosis was officially made. A year and a half later, in the winter of 2009, Danny Dantzler passed away.
As of Aug. 20, the ALS Association reported $31.5 million in donations since July 29. In that same time period (July 29 to Aug. 20) last year, the ALSA reported $1.9 million in donations.
Dantzler said at first he did not want to participate in the challenge when former UGA quarterback Aaron Murray challenged him a few weeks ago, before the videos really started taking off. It was just “too emotional” for him.
Once the challenge went viral, Dantzler’s mother and aunt came down to Athens for Georgia’s picture day, and along with head coach Mark Richt, the Dantzler’s completed the challenge.
Today was awesome. After my mom and I did the ALS Ice Bucket challenge we both cried in each other's arms for a few minutes.— Watts Dantzler (@wattsdantzler) August 16, 2014
“It was a special moment,” Dantzler said.
Dantzler and the Bulldogs’ season opens up against Clemson at home on Aug. 30.
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