What Can You Learn About ALS from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

ALS Ice bucket challenge

A new phenomenon in recent weeks have forever changed the way people donate to charities and organizations. Dubbed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, this movement is actually a way to spread information about a highly debilitating disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). It is popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the American professional baseball player who tragically suffered from ALS, which eventually ended his very promising career in major league baseball, to the dismay of fans and enthusiasts in the country.

Quick Facts About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

  • Most people that are diagnosed with ALS are between 40 and 70 years of age.
  • Men are more at risk of developing ALS than women.
  • The first symptoms are usually muscle spasms, weakening of the arm and leg muscles, speech difficulties, and troubles with chewing and swallowing.
  • ALS, in most cases, do not affect a person’s five senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch), nor does it have any significant impact on a person’s intelligence.
  • For people with ALS, they have an idea of what is happening around them, but they cannot respond to it the way a normal person would.
  • Most cases of ALS are not inherited, so genes do not play a huge role in increasing the chance of developing the disease.

How Does the Ice Bucket Challenge Work?

If you have been nominated to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, you need to either (1) accept the challenge or (2) donate to an ALS charity. You can also choose to do both, as many Hollywood celebrities have chosen to do. Once you accept the challenge, you need to douse yourself with a bucketful of ice water, capture it on video, and then uploading it to a social media site such as Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram. Make sure to use the hashtags #IceBucketChallenge, #ALSicebucketchallenge, and #strikeoutALS when uploading your video.

How It Started

Thanks to 29-year old Peter Frates of Boston, Massachusetts, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took off to such crazy heights and achieved what no one saw coming. What started as challenge to raise awareness of the disease for friends and families now has thousands of followers online. More importantly, it has raised an exorbitant amount of sum for the ALS Association, which would be used to fun research on finding a cure, as well as other promotional campaigns.

How Much has the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge manage to collect?

According to Time.com, as of August 29, 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge broke the $100 million mark. Since it started in July 29, the movement has managed to raise several times the amount the ALS Association had collected in 2013 in the same time frame. A staggering number of more than three million people have donated to the cause since the challenge went viral.

Revolutionizing the Way People Promote Awareness for a Disease

Gone are the days when promoting a harmful disease involves spreading flyers, hosting charity balls, and creating forums. Nowadays, social media through the internet is the best way to go. With the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, they capitalized on the undying interest of the general population to see people in compromisingly funny situations, while sending out an important message at the same time. More importantly, funds are raised exponentially, thanks to the participation of our favorite celebrities, athletes, and politicians, including:

      Justin Timberlake       Jared Padalecki
      Jimmy Kimmel       Chris Pratt
      Ben Affleck       Batista (Dave Bautista)
      Emma Stone       Vin Diesel
      Zoe Saldana       Former President George W. Bush, Jr.
      Jennifer Lopez       Adam Sandler
      Lady Gaga       David Beckham
      Britney Spears       James Franco
      Tom Hiddleston       Benedict Cumberbatch
      Charlie Sheen       Taylor Swift
      Sir Patrick Stewart       Robert Downey, Jr.
      Mark Zuckerberg       Bill Gates


Significance of the Ice Bucket Challenge to Raising ALS Awareness

Letting yourself be doused with a bucket filled to the brim with ice and water is not just some silly game invented to attract attention to ALS, there is actually many underlying benefits that the ALS Association continues to reap. The first is quite obvious, it is raising a ridiculous amount of money, more than the ALS Association has ever gotten in the previous years. Second, millions of people are now introduced to the fact that donating to charity is not only important, but it can also be fun as well. The fact that the challenge was able to generate that much now allows the ALS association to invest it on things that truly matter, such as furthering current research, granted that they use it for that purpose.

To know more about ALS and how it affects the lives of those who are diagnosed with it, visit http://www.alsa.org/. You can also check out our dedicated page on the disease.

Img c/o Pixabay.

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