In the last two weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has quite literally “soaked” the nation. Everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake has poured a bucket of ice water over her or his head and has challenged others do the same or to make a donation to fight ALS within twenty-four hours.
Among those who have taken up the challenge are Ben Stiller, Lena Dunham, Chloe Moretz, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Robert Downey Jr, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Adam Levine, Oprah, Demi Lovato, Hilary Duff, Conan O'Brien and many others.
As of Sunday, August 17, 2014, The ALS Association has received $13.3 million in donations compared to $1.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 17). These donations have come from existing donors and 259,505 new donors to The Association.
The ALS Association is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from those people who have been doused, made a donation, or both. Contributions further The Association’s mission to find treatments and a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.
“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “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.”
With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference.
“While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible,” said Newhouse, “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 against the disease.”
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months.
Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe.
“With more people aware and more people engaged in the fight against ALS, we are not only poised to work collaboratively with other ALS organizations but also with pharmaceutical companies and academia to expedite new treatments for people impacted by the disease,” Newhouse continued.
As donations continue to come in, The ALS Association looks forward to funding its present mission-priorities of research, care services and public policy while also considering new projects to move the needle on finding treatments and a cure for the disease.
“Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, we realize how many more people are invested in the ALS cause,” said Newhouse. “The Association is committed to the very highest standards of donor stewardship and transparency. We look forward to communicating with and informing all of our donors and the general public about how we’re putting these donations to work.”