SALEM, IN (WAVE) - A cold, drizzly day is perfect weather for one of the latest crazes to sweep social media. Have you heard of the cold water challenge? It's splashing its way through the town of Salem, Indiana, bringing a bright spot to a story that will otherwise break your heart.
The cold water challenge has people pledging to a cause, taking a hit from a blast of cold water and challenging friends to do the same. The friend then has 24 hours to also plunge into or get hit by cold water or pay an extra cost to the original challenger's charity. These videos are being shared online as only social media can.
"The videos have been amazing for us, uplifting," said Shawn Bottorff.
They're lifting the Bottorff family up when the world is trying to push them down.
"They did a CT scan that found the pressure inside his head and then done an MRI and found the tumor," Bottorff said.
Bottorff's 7-year-old son Zach has a tumor growing on his brain stem that's inoperable. Laughter is not something that's easy to come by in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Just weeks ago, Bottorff said Zach was a happy, loving child. His family thought had a stomach bug. "It's really been hard seeing the transformation," he said. "It's been rough."
So while their hometown of Salem, Indiana has stepped up to pull the family through in so many ways, like t-shirts and prayers, the viral videos have provided something precious.
"We've actually had two or three videos from Florida. We've gotten videos from Australia," Shawn said. "It just takes our mind off of it. It actually gives us something to laugh about. When he sees us laugh, we get emotions from him. He'll sit in bed and giggle."
Both through the cold water challenge videos and t-shirts, friends and neighbors of the Bottorffs have raised several thousand dollars, although Shawn says he'd just as much appreciate ten prayers as a dollar.
Zach has started radiation, but his prognosis is grim.
Videos of people doing the cold water challenge are being shared on the Prayers for Zach Facebook page. To view them click here.
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