By Elizabeth Willoughby on
ALS, a disease that causes progressive paralysis and then death within two to five years, did not used to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. That all changed this summer when former Boston College Baseball captain Pete Frates, who has the disease, started the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The challenge: Either make a large donation to the ALS Association or dump a bucket of ice water over your head, post a video of it on your social media including a challenge to your friends and make a small donation to ALS.
Frates’ ALS Ice Bucket Challenge swept through his friends and the sports world, but it didn’t stop there. It has crossed borders, seas and attracted the attention of many. The ALS Association in the US has received over $100 million since the end of July. ALS in Canada received $400 thousand in one day alone.
Countless celebrities have become involved as well. Stephen Colbert's 32-second challenge was short and to the point and Ben Affleck's video involved a bit of fun, but Bill Gates got very creative with his challenge.
According to interim CEO of ALS Canada Tammy Moore, the attention is helping families dealing with ALS to feel less isolated and is creating a groundswell of knowledge. “When [the Challenge] came to Canada on August 8, we did not anticipate that it would continue this long. When you see Pete Frates talk about why he did it, and he’s using eye gaze technology to do it – a communication device, because he can only communicate with his eyes at this point – when we see that, that reminds us why people are doing it.”
With no signs of the Challenge slowing down yet, Moore says the world’s largest ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is under plans for September.
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