What is ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? | #IceBucketChallenge

Photo Credit: alsa.org

Do you wonder what is the Ice Bucket Challenge and why celebrities, billionaires, politicians, people pouring a bucket full of ice on their heads and posting their videos online using the hashtag #icebucketchallenge.


The Ice Bucket Challenge, which became viral on social media, is all about awareness and raising money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The challenge involves daring a person to take a video of them having a bucket of ice water dropped over their head within the next 24 hours, or else donate money — usually $100 — to www.alsa.org/donate or to an ALS association of their choice. Or they can do both: take up the challenge and donate.

Once a person completes the challenge, they're also need to dare several other people — usually three — to participate, which is why the challenge has been viral, especially over the internet.

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment–"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region. (Via alsa.org)

How did the Ice Bucket Challenge begin?

The exact date of its origin is unclear. But, according to ALS Association, Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, began the Ice Bucket Challenge — and he's being widely credited for kicking it off. Frates is 29 and has been living with ALS since 2012.

$94.3 Million donations since July 29

As of Wednesday, August 27, The ALS Association has received $94.3 million in donations compared to $2.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 27). These donations have come from existing donors and 2.1 million new donors.

For more information about the Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS, please visit alsa.org or email inquiries@alsa-national.org.

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