Aug 19, 2014 7:23 PM by Ashlea Bullington

Viral Challenge Raising Awareness for ALS

If you haven't completed the challenge, you have probably heard of it.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is all over social media. People across the nation are dumping buckets of ice water on their heads to raise awareness for ALS -- 'Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis' -- also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Patients diagnosed with ALS progressively get weaker, and they have difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing. Ultimately, patients may lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has helped raise $22.9 million in donations to ALS foundations in the past 3 weeks, compared to $1.9 million raised in the same time period last year.

Here's how it works:
Someone who completes the challenge nominates a friend to do it. The person nominated has 24 hours to complete the challenge or donate 100 dollars to an ALS charity of their choice. Usually, someone who completes the challenge donates 10 dollars.

This viral trend started a few weeks ago when, Beverly, Mass., resident Pete Frates, along with his family, asked people on Facebook and Twitter to take the "Ice Bucket Challenge." Frates has lived with ALS since 2012, and has worked with The ALS Association's Massachusetts Chapter. A former Division 1 college athlete with Boston College Baseball, Frates tirelessly spreads awareness of Lou Gehrig's Disease. When he asked people to take the challenge, it went viral. Sports teams in Boston started challenging one another, celebrities jumped in, families took part and even billionaires like Bill Gates joined in.

The ALS association says it is committed to carefully studying the best ways to spend the unprecedented amount of money it has received in the past few weeks.

Acadiana resident, Gina Connell, lost her husband, Kevin, to ALS in 2013. She expressed her gratefulness for the challenge, raising awareness for this disease that currently has no cure and very little treatment.

"Kevin would be in hysterics laughing. It would just entertain him to no end. Of course, he would be getting wet. He would be the first one out in his chair saying 'okay, dump me.' He would love it," Gina said.

For more information about ALS or where to donate click here.



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