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IC Catholics Take The Challenge

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28)-It's a big hit on social media and still going strong.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than 70 million dollars.

But this past week the archdioceses in Omaha, Cincinnati and a few other cities made national news when they warned Catholics that the ALS ice bucket challenge isn't supporting what they believe in.

Here in the Corridor, some folks want to support the cause but in a different way.

"We want the same end result, but we are just going about it a different way," Cassidy LeClaire said.

LeClaire is a co-leader for the Iowa City Young Adult Cathlics and said she took part in the challenge before she knew the ALS Association does embryonic stem cell research.

The Catholic Church opposes using embryonic stem cells for research.

"We want to raise awareness to have people know where their money is going and be okay with that," LeClaire siad.

She said they want to tell others there are alternative places to donate.

The John Paul II Medical REsearch Institute in Iowa City is one of those places.

The institute believes in using adult stem cells for their research.

"The embryonic stem cell research from our position is not consistent with the pro-life vision," Founder Dr. Alan Moy said.

Moy founded the institute on that basis.

"This is avenue for pro-lifes to be able to support those patients who suffer from diseases like ALS," Moy said.

John Paul II is currently researching for a cure for ALS and has received a considerable amount of donations.

"It's amazing how powerful social media has been to spread the word," Jay Kamath said. He is also with John Paul II.

Kamath said more than 50% of their donations goes to their research.

They just want to make it clear that they are not against throwing an ice bucket on your head, donating or both. They say they hope participates choose a cause of their choice, knowing where the money is going.

"We and the church recognize the horrors of ALS but want to find a cure," participate Jim Burke said.

Burke said that there has been a better outcome when using adult stem cells for research.

"Over a hundred cures have been found with adult stem cells," Burke said.

The ALS Association made a statement saying "Donors to the ALS Association can stipulate where their money goes and can ask that it not pay for embryonic stem cell research."

But the Iowa City Young Adult Catholics said they will throw their change in a bucket they trust.

"There are a lot of places that support the JP II Institute because of the ethical research they do," LeClaire said.

The Iowa City Young Adult Catholics said they donated $2,000 as a group to the JP II Institute.

Dr. Alan Moy nominated Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

CBS 2 reached out to the ALS Iowa chapter but they chose to not comment but encouraged Iowans to donate in our state.

To donate to the JP II Institute visit their website here:

Or if you would like to donate to the ALS Iowa Chapter here is their website:

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