ALS Ice Bucket Challenge goes global.
If you are an active social media user, by now you’ve seen countless people dumping buckets and bins full of water and ice on their heads. Even celebrities and leaders such as George W. Bush, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Downey Jr. have participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. However, what most of these people fail to explain is what exactly is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and what does it mean?
The Ice Bucket Challenge was created in order to raise money and awareness for ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The general idea is that when you are “challenged” by someone, you either dump ice water on your head and donate $10 to the ALS association or dump no water and donate $100. Then, you challenge more people to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the chain continues.
However, you may be wondering why dumping ice on your head helps ALS, or what exactly ALS is. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that progressively breaks down the neurons in the body, eventually leading to death. According to the ALS Association’s website, alsa.org, “approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year.”
The Ice Bucket Challenge was created by the ALSA, but it blew up with one person: Pete Frates. Frates was diagnosed with ALS and, despite the disease, he worked hard to educate people, raise money and help bring the ALS closer to defeating ALS. Frates was a beloved athlete before he contracted the disease, and when he heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge he began to nominated people to take the challenge. Before long, sport teams across the country were doing it in honor of Frates, then families and even celebrities. With the help of Frates, the challenge has spread in unbelievable ways.
Some people doubt how much the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has helped, but recent reports from the ALSA have proven that the challenge has drastically increased the amount of donations the organization has received. According to a report by the ALSA, “as of Wednesday, Aug. 20, the ALS Association has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 20). These donations have come from existing donors and 637,527 new donors to the association.”
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has even hit home in New Jersey! On Aug. 20, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and about 20 members of his executive staff took part in the challenge. For more information on the ALS Association or the Ice Bucket Challenge, visit the ALSA’s website at alsa.org.