Saturday, August 16, 2014

What is the Craze About ALS #IceBucketChallenge?

If your Facebook newsfeed is looking a bit wet and chilly these days, you’re not alone. This social media phenomenon known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” involves dumping a pail of ice cold water over your head and then challenging three other people to do the same within 24 hours. Don’t want to accept the task after being summoned to it? Donate $100 to the ALS Association which fights amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

It may seem like a silly social media meme, but it’s making a difference: The ALS Association reports that it, and its 38 chapters, received $4 million in donations in just two weeks. Last year during that same time period, (July 29-August 12), the association brought in $1.1 million.
“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association,  in a release on the association’s website. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.
The Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause since July 31 and Newhouse says, “While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible, the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable. People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight to find treatments and a cure.”
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. The disease involves losing control of voluntary muscle movement, including the ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe. It is 100% fatal.
In addition to the publicity and funds the Association has received, they’re also asking anyone with the disease to sign up for their national registry, which collects information that will advance research into the cause, treatment, and cure.
Jessica Wozinsky | Parade

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