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CORRECTION: 5 caretakers take ‘ice bucket challenge’ for man with ALS

SCV resident has lived with disease for 11 years

Posted: August 23, 2014 9:59 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2014 6:10 p.m.

Cary Dermer's wife Jackie Dermer gives him a kiss on the cheek. Dermer is an SCV resident who has lived with ALS for 11 years. His 5 caregivers took the ice bucket challenge at AV Equipment Rentals in Newhall today where ice water was dumped on them from a skip loader . Photo for The Signal/Jayne Kamin-Oncea

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Editor's note: The following story corrects an earlier version posted Aug. 23 that incorrectly said what the 'ice bucket challenge' money would be used for. All proceeds from the ice bucket challenge for Cary Dermer went to the ALS Association.

Five young women put a spin on the now-famous “ice bucket challenge” in honor of a longtime Santa Clarita resident who has suffered from ALS for 11 years.

On Saturday, the caretakers for Cary Dermer lined up underneath a skip loader from AV Equipment Rentals Inc. in Newhall filled with ice water. They ended up completely soaked.

“We decided it would be kind of fun for them to take the ice bucket challenge, and we would watch and applaud them for all the good that they do,” said Jackie Dermer, Cary’s wife.

Watching from the sidelines, Dermer saw his five caretakers get soaked with ice water in his honor.

The disease has been a part of his life for 11 years, and yet Dermer still has the ability to speak, despite being hooked up to a ventilator and feeding tube.

His caretakers commended his gentle nature and ability to put others before himself.

“Cary is the sweetest, smartest man you will ever meet, because all he does is care about other people,” said Elizabeth Kerr, one of Dermer’s caretakers. “He totally deserves to be the angriest person ever because of having this disease, but he is not.”

Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS attacks motor neurons in the body. The condition is ultimately fatal, as weakness and paralysis spread through the muscles and eventually affect speech, swallowing, chewing and breathing.

As many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time, and it usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70 years old, according to the ALS Association.

To raise money and spread awareness, the ALS Association created the "ice bucket challenge,” which encourages friends and family to donate.

As of Saturday, the ALS Association has raised $62.5 million in donations as a result of the challenge.

“I think it’s needed to raise awareness, because so many people don’t know about ALS,” Kerr said. “It is starting to help, and understanding is the first step.”

As the challenge’s popularity begins to fade, many have pointed out that not all those who participate end up donating money to the cause.

Kerr, however, believes that the challenge has done more good than bad.

“We live in a stingy world and a bad economy where we are forced to preserve our money,” Kerr said. “But if something as simple as pouring ice water over our heads will spread the word to someone who has money to give, then I think everyone should do it.”

All funds raised during the ice bucket challenge for Cary Dermer went directly to the ALS Association, Kerr said.

The foundation provided Dermer with various medical equipment to make it possible for him to take an airplane flight for the first time. He's heading for San Francisco.

Despite his disability, Kerr says that Dermer has always had a positive outlook on life.

“He always says that he has ALS — but ALS is not his life,” Kerr said.



bobforte: Posted: August 24, 2014 10:38 a.m.

Great cause!!! Horrible disease. Just donate the money and stop wasting water. Or if you are going to do it, do it on some grass or something that needs to be watered.

scvforall: Posted: August 24, 2014 11:05 a.m.

The Dermer family are an inspiration to all who know them. Please donate to find a cure. While an ice bucket challenge is unique compared to a walk-a-thon, the need doesn't change. Donate. Save a life and you aren't wasting water.

bobforte: Posted: August 24, 2014 12:46 p.m.

Yes, the whole ice bucket thing is old now anyways. Dropping water does not help find a cure. Money to help research does. As well as money to help those families dealing with this situation.

DMeyer: Posted: August 24, 2014 2:08 p.m.

This ice bucket thing may be old to some, but it started a craze and got so many more people involved in this fund raising movement that normally would not be. Who cares if they "waste" a bucket of water they are doing such a worthwhile cause.

Keep challenging each other, keep dumping buckets on your heads and keep donating money to the ALS cause.

SReilly12: Posted: August 24, 2014 3:39 p.m.

User Removed Comment.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 24, 2014 9:47 p.m.

I have a very very beloved family member that died a few years ago from ALS. There is nothing more torturous than watching someone you love suffer from this disease, and with no hope that things will get better or some drug will work...there's nothing, and no hope, it's fatal and awful for everyone involved, particularly the poor patient.

Anything that can offer a glimmer of help for these folks needs to happen and a few buckets of water aren't going to hurt anything.

scv_donn: Posted: August 25, 2014 9:37 a.m.

I lost a good friend and bowling buddy to this horrible disease at only 58 years young. When her daughter challenged me, I gladly excepted and donated and I never get tired of watching others do it.

SReilly12: Posted: August 25, 2014 11:33 a.m.

When you stop and think about all that has happened in this country over the past few years.......all the things that separate us, from politics to crime, the economy, the wars etc., etc., it just does the heart good to see people coming together to support this cause. People need something to feel good about these days and if it takes a bucket or water to bring attention to this be it!

bobforte: Posted: August 25, 2014 12:45 p.m.

Agreed Sreilly. In that sense, when you think of the sacrafices our soldiers and founders of this country go through and went through, shooting off some fireworks is no big deal either. It helps me remember the sacrafices they have made and reminds me of the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

SReilly12: Posted: August 25, 2014 1:08 p.m.

@bobforte - Sorry about the fireworks crack......seems like my buttons get push way to often these days. Not right to pick you out of the crowd to vent my own frustrations. I do sincerely apologize!

bobforte: Posted: August 25, 2014 4:15 p.m.

No problem. I was thinking that you and I generally agree on most things.

And my cracks at this post and the other one about the water shortage are in humor. I still think it is a waste, but that is just me. The city and state officials have made no evidence to us their is a water shortage. When the city continues to install median landscaping and the state is adding landscaping to the freeways, I find it hard to believe there is a shortage.

SReilly12: Posted: August 25, 2014 5:02 p.m.

Yes we do Bob and what makes me so angry with myself is that I do know you are ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!

This whole water thing is the biggest joke of all.......we need to build more dams.......not some bullet train.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 26, 2014 11:40 a.m.

Sreilly and bobforte,

I couldn't agree more with you both. The train needs to go away for good. We need to beef up infrastructure throughout the state, county, cities, etc. LA City is a train wreck with 100 yr old bursting pipes, buckling roads, sidewalks, etc.

Our state needs to work on building water catchment systems, shore up the delta water delivery system and/or create something in addition to it, restructure the way water is allocated, etc., etc. The state should focus on our freeways which are an unmitigated disaster. They spend trillions building carpool lanes and toll lanes everywhere but the rest of the freeway is in total shambles. And it KILLS me that whenever they add lanes, they don't regrade them so they're all bumpy and paved 50% higher on one side of the lane than on the other, it's a nightmare and the whole state is that way.

Areas like San Diego county have a real disaster waiting because they have extremely poor fire fighting resources. This has not changed and with fire seasons getting worse every year, they really need to stop building houses in the middle of dry areas with no defensible space or fire departments. Unlike LA County, SD County has mostly volunteer FD's and they are thin spread and lack much of the necessary equipment for major responses.

Meanwhile, SCV continues to build fully landscaped center medians.

johnnyrock: Posted: August 26, 2014 2:41 p.m.

How about just donating money without wasting so much water?

Unreal: Posted: August 26, 2014 5:42 p.m.

Unfortunately this research group uses cells obtained from embryos that are killed. I know most of you don't care but some of us do not support research using human embryos.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 26, 2014 6:20 p.m.

User Removed Comment.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 26, 2014 6:23 p.m.

User Removed Comment.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 26, 2014 6:28 p.m.


They don't HAVE to use embryos -

But even if they do use embryos, if something good comes of it, then wouldn't it be worth it to you? It sure is to me.

Abortions are going to occur with or without this research so why not let something good result from it?

Unreal: Posted: August 27, 2014 1:54 p.m.

murdering babies is not worth it. Ever.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 29, 2014 10:44 p.m.


Didn't you read the article on the link? They don't HAVE to use embryos. Either way, abortions aren't occurring FOR research, research occurs as a byproduct of abortions that were going to happen with or without the research, so the research is actually a bonus. At least something positive could result from an already occurring abortion.

I think you wouldn't say that if you had, say a child, with a horrifying disease, especially a fatal one. Or a loved one who ended up severely paralyzed like Christopher Reeve.

I think it's wonderful that they've found a use for what would otherwise be biohazard waste. I just don't understand how anyone can't see the benefits outweigh the cost. I realize that folks on the opposite side of the argument feel exactly the opposite and feel like no amount of benefit is worth the cost. But the cost is going to happen NO MATTER WHAT so use it to do some good!

I heard about a study about 2 years ago at UC Davis. They were doing stem cell research on horses that had leg injuries that were certain to be life ending. They were injecting the stem cells directly into the wounded sections of their legs and every single one of them healed to the point of being totally recovered. It would be considered a complete miracle under any other circumstance. Imagine what this could do for sick people, even sick babies.

Unreal: Posted: September 2, 2014 11:13 a.m.

This so called charity also was in the news and apparently they are only giving 23 cents out of every dollar to research. The rest is lining the pockets of the staff and to pay for more advertising.

A watchdog group reported this info and says they don't even count a charity as legit unless they give at least 80 cents out of every dollar.

Be careful of wolves in sheep's clothing.

chefgirl358: Posted: September 2, 2014 1:03 p.m.


according to Charity, it's actually a very well run organization with the lions share of their funds going to the very programs it is running to help people.

Unreal: Posted: September 2, 2014 3:02 p.m.

You are right. That's what I get for believing the discussion on the radio. (KFI). I should have checked it out myself. They do give a good amount to run their programs.

I still have an issue with their research being based on the murder of human embryos but they are not misappropriating the money.

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