Last summer, when Pete Frates, an individual suffering from Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), posted a video about the Ice Bucket Challenge, on July 29, 2014, the challenge went ‘viral.’ In the Ice Bucket Challenge, individuals dumped a bucket full of ice and water over their own head. Afterwards, they posted a video on social network sites and challenge five others to dump a bucket of ice water over their own head or donate $100 to fund ALS research.
While some criticized the challenge, according to the ALS Association, the challenge led to a large increase in donations. As of August 29, 2014, donations to the ALS Association were over $100 during the previous month. In comparison, during 2013, $2.8 million was donated to the ALS during the same month.
According to their website, The Muscular Dystrophy Association’s efforts benefitted from the Ice Bucket Challenge as well. Even the CEO of the MDA took the Challenge.
Money raised by the challenge has been used to fund research towards better treatments and cures for ALS by the ALS foundation and the MDA. Support services for individuals with ALS and their families have also benefitted.
Also important, the challenge raised awareness of this terrible disease. More than a million videos were posted on Facebook during the summer of 2014. In addition, there were more than a quarter of a million new donors to the ALS Association in 2015.
Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in the U.S.) is one of the motor neuron diseases. This deadly neuromuscular disease affects the muscles of the legs and arms, throat, and mouth. Eventually, ALS involves all of the voluntary muscles causing paralysis. The muscles involved in eating and respiration become affected as the disease progresses. This disease usually progresses rapidly, and average survival after diagnosis is only about three to five years.
Onset of ALS usually occurs during adulthood. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S. have ALS, with about 5,000 new diagnoses of ALS each year. Currently, there is no cure for Amotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Last summer, I took the Ice Bucket Challenge. You can find my video on the Facebook page for the Neuromuscular Disease site at https://www.facebook.com/BellaOnlineNeuromuscularDiseasesSite I also made a donation to the ALS Association.
According to the MDA.org and ALSA.org websites, the Ice Bucket Challenge will begin again in August of 2015. Donations to the ALS and the MDA will help fund research into clinical treatments for ALS, as well ALS efforts in the area of patient care services, public education, and public policy. Donations can also be made to The Pete Frates #3 Fund.
The challenge is now extended to you. Learn more about ALS and share what you have learned. Take the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2015 and make a donation to the MDA and/or the ALS Association. Do what you can to raise awareness and help efforts to find better treatments and a cure for ALS.
ALSA.org, (2014). Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Reach $22.9 Million to The ALS Association. Retrieved from http://www.alsa.org/news/media/press-releases/ice-bucket-challenge-081914.html in 8/19/14.
ALSA.org, (2015). Why I’m taking the #ALSIceBucketChallenge this August. Retrieved on 7/20/15 from http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html .
Diamond, D., (2014). The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Has Raised $100 Million – And Counting. Forbes. Retrieved on 7/20/15 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2014/08/29/the-als-ice-bucket-challenge-has-raised-100m-but-its-finally-cooling-off/ .
Haidett-Phillips, A., (2015) The Ice Has Thawed: What’s Next in the Fight to End ALS. MDA website. Retrieved from http://www.mda.org/media/press-releases/ice-has-thawed-whats-next-fight-end-als
MDA.org., (2015) MDA website. Retrieved on 7/20/15 from http://www.mda.org/ .
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, (2015). ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Fact Sheet. Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis/detail_ALS.htm on 7/20/15.
petefrates.com, (n.d.). The Pete Frates Fund. Retrieved on 7/20/15 from http://www.petefrates.com/index.html#.Va0V7flViko .
Reijonen, Jori, (2014) Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS video available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BellaOnlineNeuromuscularDiseasesSite and on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7Tn1lzoYs8&feature=youtube_gdata .
Steel, E., (2014). ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Has Raised Millions for ALS Association. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/business/ice-bucket-challenge-has-raised-millions-for-als-association.html?_r=0 on 8/19/14.