Teacher knocks self out after ice-bucket challenge

Over €900,000 has been raised for Irish Motor Neurone disease through trend

A video of an Irish montessori teacher taking part in the ice-bucket challenge has gone viral after the young woman ran into a pole and was knocked out.

Teresina Bell from Drogheda was caught on film running into a metal clothes line after her mother threw a bucket of ice-water over her head. Ms Bell had been challenged by her nephew to take part in the viral fundraising challenge which has swept the globe in recent weeks.

Wearing swimming togs, goggles and armbands, the young teacher appears on screen with a list of nominations before she’s drenched with a bucket of ice-cold water. The shock of the water promptly sends Ms Bell running down the garden path.

“I went straight into the close line and it had a low bar at the bottom,” Ms Bell told Today FM this morning. “I went into that, smacked off that.”


The unfortunate crash left two "huge golfball lumps" on Ms Bell's head, as well as a busted lip, a bruised tooth and neck whip lash. The Montessori teacher has yet to watch the viral video which has reached over 800,000 views on YouTube, saying she feels "embarrassed" and "stupid".

The ice bucket challenge began in the United States as a means of raising money for research into ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease). The social media trend quickly went international and arrived in Ireland over a fortnight ago.

Aisling Farrell, chief executive of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, says the trend spiked in Ireland when Daithí O’ Sé took part during last week’s Rose of Tralee festival.

“We’re a tiny charity, only 10 staff, and we’re completely overwhelmed at the moment, just trying to take it all in,” Ms Farrell explained. She says donations over the past fortnight have already reached €900,000.

“We saw a dip in donations at the beginning of the year but this means the sustainability of the organisation is more guaranteed now than ever before,” she said.

Ms Farrell says 25 per cent of donations will be given to Professor Orla Hardiman for MND research at Beaumont Hospital. She added that the number of people diagnosed with MND in the last year has risen considerably, with 60 extra names on the organisation's database.

The popularity of the ice-bucket challenge has received a considerable boost from celebrity participation with Lady Gaga, George W Bush and even Kermit the Frog taking part.

Matt Damon has become the latest high profile name to take part in the challenge, using the fundraising stunt to raise awareness of water sanitation problems around the world.

The Hollywood actor chose to dump toilet water over his head to highlight the reality faced by 800 million people worldwide living “without access to clean water”.

“For those of you, like my wife, who thinks this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the west is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world has access to,” Damon said as he filled a bucket with water from his toilet.

“As disgusting as this may seem hopefully it will highlight the fact that this is a big problem that together we can do something about.”

People can donate €2 to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association by texting MND to 50300.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast