Community takes ‘cold water challenge' for ill EMS director

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

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ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. - Hundreds of people in Alexander County are helping a man who's spent his life helping others. 

For the last seven weeks, EMS Director Bradley Earp has been hospitalized with a serious illness. 

No one could tell Channel 9 exactly how it started, but reporter Dave Faherty found people going out of their way to get wet.  

Sheriff deputies were getting ice water dumped on them, judges jumped in a chilly swimming pool and even a local preacher got in the act.

"The water was real cold.  It's an opportunity to serve a gentleman who really needs some help,” said the Rev. Andrew Miller with St. Luke Lutheran Church.

It is called the Bradley Earp Cold Water Challenge. It started a few weeks ago after word got out he was battling a severe case of Crohn's disease. 

Since then, it has gone viral.  Channel 9 found video of some friends who even went through a car wash with the top down. 

The challenge works like this: Either donate $100 and avoid the chilly bath or pay $10 and come up with a creative way to get wet. 
Earp's wife, Tammy, showed Channel 9 one of the videos on her phone.

In the last two week, she and her husband have received 1,000 video clips, including some from people she doesn't even know.  

"The thing I love about it is people are getting together and spending time with each other.  And every video I have watched, I've seen someone laughing.  And I can't wait for the day our family can be back together,” Tammy Earp said.

The best part is that Bradley gets to see all of those videos as he continues to recover.  

"Sometimes he cries and other times he laughs. He just loves seeing what people are doing for him,” Tammy Earp said.