Challenge gone viral in search for a cure

Posted on

By Maegan Hall, Staff Writer

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a trend that began circulating around the Internet throughout early August. It was intended to raise money for the ALS Association to help find a cure. ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and is a progressive disease that affects the spinal cord and nerve cells.

According to Forbes’ article “How Pete Frates Found His Calling and Launched the Ice Bucket Challenge,” the challenge started with Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. Frates lost his voice due to the disease, but that did not stop him from creating the challenge, which has brought together thousands of people to help raise awareness.

“I believe the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge spread across media as fast as it did because celebrities participated, making a bigger effect,” said sophomore Katrina Krieger.

Celebrities played a major role in making the challenge successful. Some of the participating celebrities included Ellen DeGeneres, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Fallon, just to name a few.

According to ASLA’s website, a little over 5,600 people are diagnosed with ALS in the United States each year. After being diagnosed, about 50 percent live for about two or three more years. Compared to earlier years, more people with ALS are living longer due to the medication and treatments given.

Since August, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over 100 million dollars. 79 percent of the proceeds from the challenge are going to research, patient and community services, and public and professional education.