GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

Three members of the ECU Football staff, including head coach Ruffin McNeill, participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge Friday morning.

The ECU football staff let players drop ice water on their heads following practice. They did the challenge in honor of retired U.S. Marine Maj. Randy Hebert. He was diagnosed with ALS in 1995.

Both Hebert and his wife, Kim, were at the event Friday.

"This is one way to get the word back and seeing the love from his country is just awesome," said Kim Hebert. "No matter what you're fighting, you're own battles, just keep your faith and keep strong."

Hebert and his family hope the challenge will continue to reach people all over the country. They also want people to continue to donate to national and local ALS charities.

So far, more than 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year.

Fact Check banner

According to the ALS Association, ALS is often called "Lou Gehrig's Disease," the name of a Major League Baseball player diagnosed with it in 1939.

ALS is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease. It affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, and eventually leads to death.

Early symptoms of ALS often include increased muscle weakness-- especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing and breathing.