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Catholic Diocese of Richmond warns against ALS association donations

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

 

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond is sending notice to all Catholics to possibly avoid the viral ALS Ice Bucket challenge. The Church says the ALS association supports stem cell research that destroys human life.

NBC 12 was there as Petersburg Police Chief John Dixon took the ALS ice bucket challenge for Pastor Lamont Hobbs and his wife, Chanel. 

"We grew up here in the city of Petersburg," said Pastor Hobbs. "We love the city. We are high school sweethearts."

Mrs. Chanel Hobbs has been battling ALS for the past 6 years.

"The thing about ALS is you lose your mobility," said Pastor Hobbs. "But you don't lose anything in your mind. Your mind stays in tact. It's like being trapped inside of your body."

Mrs. Hobbs typed out multiple 'thank yous' to Chief Dixon, Mayor Brian Moore and Petersburg City Manager William Johnson. Chief Dixon challenged his fellow leaders to take the plunge. 

"Being there and looking at her type thank you across the screen," said Chief Dixon. "It just does something for the heart and really made it feel worthwhile."

I even took the challenge this past week, but the cold hard truth is not everyone is smiling about taking the plunge. 

"In terms of bringing awareness to the disease," said Monsignor Mark Lane who is Vicar General of the Richmond Catholic Diocese. "Sure have ice thrown on you, but they shouldn't be contributing money." 

The church takes issue with the fact that the ALS association provides funding for embryonic stem cell research. The Association acknowledges the "ethical concerns" on it's website, and suggests it is work to "overcome" the ethical issues.

"Our issue is where is the money going?" said Monsignor Lane. "And for Roman Catholics to contribute to an organization that uses embryonic stem cells is not in keeping with the pro-life stance of the church."

The church sent a notice to area Catholic schools driving home that message. It instructed them to remove videos that don't include a note about where the money was donated. 

The Hobbs are just happy to see the community talking more about the debilitating disease. 

"We have lots of family support," said Pastor Hobbs. "But when you have the community behind you it just gives you the fortitude to keep going and to keep pressing on." 

The church suggests donating to places like the John Paul II Medical Research Institute because the institute uses adult stem cells. 

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