Ice soaking shines light on pro-life research centre

School principals get soasked

The current craze for ice bucket charity has focussed attention on a pro-life research centre that sits comfortably with Catholic values, reports the Catholic News Service.

The American summer's ALS ice bucket challenge craze has netted nearly $100 million in donations for the ALS Association: get an ice-cold soaking, make a donation, or both, all for the purpose of fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

But because the ALS Association has acknowledged conducting research using embryonic stem cells - a practice opposed by the Church, and one the Association said is funded by one specific donor and is coming to an end - a few dioceses have recommended making donations instead to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa, which conducts ALS research without using such cells.

The institute focuses on developing core technologies that all diseases need, and doing this within a pro-life value system.

Compared to what the ALS Association is pulling in from the challenge, the Institute's income thus far has been, well, a drop in the bucket, but it represents a 100 percent increase in donations."

Last year, we raised $170,000 of private donations, primarily through word of mouth, people we know. Because we're small, we don't have an organiser for marketing, a professional fund-raising organisation," said Dr Alan Moy, who co-founded the institute in 2006 with his wife Jeanne.

"In the last 10 days, we've received exposure and that's doubled. That's pretty significant," Moy told CNS on Friday. "But compared to ALSA, that's peanuts."

At the Institute, as at Catholic hospitals, "there's a lot of people who may not be Catholic and they may not be pro-life, but they have to recognise that the hospital isn't going to do anything that's opposed to Catholic teaching," Mow explained.

"They're going to have to abide by certain Catholic principles. As long as they know that, I want them to work passionately, work hard, and know what the end game is. ... People are interested in making a difference."

FULL STORY Ice bucket challenge brings attention to pro-life research centre (CNS)

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