FOR many, the worldwide fundraising water challenge, when people are nominated by friends to take part in a cold water dousing in aid of charity, has been simply a fun way to raise money.
But when grieving Alan Lucas stepped up to play his part, the slapstick comedy moment instead became a poignant and emotionally charged tribute to the brother he had just lost.
Alan learned just 20 minutes before filming his water challenge that his brother Paul had lost his fight against cancer. Paul, a joiner from Slateford, died aged 59, only eight weeks after being diagnosed.
Still reeling from the news of his loss, Alan opted to fulfil his part of the global challenge, which has seen film stars, pop celebrities and politicians pledge money to charity in return for a cold-water soaking.
Now the short film of Alan talking of how he had just learned of his brother’s death, yet still wanted to show his support for cancer charity Macmillan, is racking up thousands of hits as Facebook users touched by his incredible tribute share his video.
Within two days of posting the film, it had been shared more than 2000 times. And by the weekend, it was heading towards 3000 with many strangers posting comments congratulating him on his brave effort and paying their respects.
One Facebook user who shared the video, Sarah Alexander, from Northern Ireland, said: “Tears tripping me watching this, well done, what a brave man.” Another, Claire Hegarty from Glasgow posted: “This goes to show it’s not just a daft craze! It’s to raise awareness and money to help find a cure for this awful disease.”
And Melissa Dickinson of Aberdeen wrote: “For anyone complaining about the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ and where the donations are going, watch this video.”
Others simply left a single word ‘Respect’, or praised his courage.
Alan, 56, said the phenomenal reaction to the video had taken him by surprise. “I didn’t do it because I wanted any attention,” he stressed. “I just wanted to give something back to Macmillan, whose nurses had helped Paul.
“We were told eight weeks ago that he had cancer so the news was really just sinking in.
“I came home from work and my wife, Pam, told me that he had died at home.”
Alan, of Gyle Park Gardens, had been earlier challenged by a family friend to take part in the fundraiser, which has taken social media by storm over the past few weeks.
He had already said he would do it when he was given the tragic news.
“It had just been a normal day,” added Alan. “I got home from work and I knew that I was going to do this challenge. Then my wife told me Alan had just died.
“I wanted to go ahead with it as a big thank you to the whole of Macmillan. Their nurses were there for the family and were amazing. This was a way of raising awareness of the great job they do. I thought the video would just be seen by friends and had no idea of the impact it would have.
“I thought it would be a good way to raise some awareness, because everyone knows someone who is affected by cancer.”
Alan’s deeply poignant video stands out from the thousands of other ice bucket challenge films.
“It was really emotional,” said wife Pam, who also did the challenge. “Alan had been nominated but when he got home I had to tell him what had happened to Paul.
“He said it just made doing the challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support all the more important.”
Alan embraced the fun element of the challenge by slipping into his wife’s swimsuit. But his grim expression and highly emotional explanation of his brother’s loss is in sharp contrast to the slapstick moment he pours buckets of water over his head, and is a stark reminder of the serious nature behind the challenge.
Paul, 59, lived in Moat Street, Slateford, with wife Fiona. The couple had been married for 25 years.
He was originally from Corstorphine and went to Forrester High School before going on to become a self-employed joiner.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer two months ago and his condition deteriorated much faster than had been expected. “We thought he would have six to nine months, but it wasn’t to be,” said Pam.
“He had hoped to make it at least to his 60th birthday in October, but he didn’t make it.”
Paul was stepfather to Lynda and granddad to Kiera, Kyle, Jacob and Neil. A funeral service will take place at Warriston Crematorium’s Cloister Chapel on Thursday.
“We’ve been amazed by the response since we posted his video on Facebook,” added Pam. “It was very emotional but a good way to raise money for charity.”
• To support the Macmillan fundraiser, text ICE to 70550 to donate £3.
DROWNED TEEN HAD CITY UNI PLACE
A TEENAGER who drowned in a quarry in an incident linked to the ice bucket craze was due to begin studying at Edinburgh Napier University next month.
Cameron Lancaster, 18, died after disappearing under the water at Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing, Fife, on Sunday.
The craze has proved a social media phenomenon with videos being posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Celebrities to have taken part include Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole and a host of sportspeople, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and tennis legend Roger Federer.