What is the Ice Bucket challenge and when did it start?
The Ice Bucket Challenge is a campaign to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also known as Lou Gehrig's disease — and encourage donations for research. A person is filmed as a bucket of water and ice is dumped over the individual's head. The individual then nominates a minimum of three people to do the same thing, having only a 24-hour time frame to complete the challenge and make a donation to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.
It went viral in July and August 2014, using social media as a platform to reach a worldwide audience. More than 17 million people posted videos online, including Bill Gates and former president George W. Bush. Over a two-year period, the money raised through the challenge helped fund research and development of treatment drugs.
The origin of the campaign has been attributed to Pete Frates, a Boston College alumnus who was diagnosed with ALS in March 2012.
How much money was raised?
The Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $115 million for the ALS Association. A chart from the ALS Association shows that $77 million, or 67%, of the funds were designated to research and another $23 million, or 20%, were given to patient and community services.
How many people participated?
More than 17 million people participated in the challenge worldwide. In the U.S., there were 2.5 million participants who donated $115 million to the ALS Association.
Why was the Ice Bucket challenge so popular?
The challenge first received media attention after professional golfer Greg Norman nominated news anchor Matt Lauer in July 2014 on NBC’s Today. This sparked a trend that led millions of people to post videos on social media to raise awareness of ALS.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is known to cause stiffness of muscles, muscle twitching and muscle weakness, which result in difficulty speaking, swallowing and eventually breathing. The cause of this disease is unknown, but in some cases genetics may be involved. A cure for ALS has not been discovered yet.