On July 29, former Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates challenged a couple of friends to pour ice water on themselves to let them get a glimpse for moment what it is like to have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Mr. Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by muscle weakness and muscle spasms. There is currently no cure, but the ALS Association (ALSA) is seeking one.
Since the end of July, thousands of people have taken part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, including a large swath of NHL players, celebrities, actors, and musicians. Thanks to social media, the challenge went viral and now people all over the nation have participated. The ALSA has raised over $100 million in the one month span between July 29 and August 29 due to the donation portion of the Ice Bucket Challenge, an increase from the $2.8 million it received in the same time the previous year.
The Ice Bucket Challenge consists of pouring a bucket of ice water on your head. If you are nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, you have 24 hours to complete the challenge and post a video of it. While some people say that you must donate if you do not complete the challenge in the allotted time, a majority of people donate after completing the challenge.
As stated previously, the Ice Bucket Challenge worked its way into the NHL, as several players attended Boston College with Mr. Frates and are his personal friends. The Ice Bucket Challenge was so prevalent in the NHL that even the Commisioner of the NHL, Gary Bettmen, completed the challenge—along with various team owners, front office staff, and other team personnel.
If you do not support all that the ALSA does in seeking a cure, which includes embryonic stem cell research, you can donate to other organizations instead of the ALSA. Dr. Anthony Windebank at the Mayo Clinic leads a clinical research team that uses adult stem cells to research treatment and results have been positive. One trial has been completed and another one is in the works.