For the past few weeks, thousands of people, including hundreds of celebrities, have been voluntarily tipping buckets of ice water over themselves and recording the ordeal to be posted online. Why, you may ask? To raise awareness for the ALS Association. The ice bucket challenge has so far helped raise over 15 million USD for the ALS Association, a sum nearly ten times greater than that raised over the same period last year. Other ALS charities have also benefited from the attention; funds raised for the charity Project ALS have grown to fifty times normal.
ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and Motor Neuron Disease (MND). The nerves gradually waste away, destroying the connection between the brain and voluntary muscles (muscles that we can consciously control, such as the limbs or facial muscles). Patients with the disease may eventually become totally paralyzed (1).
The exact cause of ALS is not fully understood, but the recent boost in funds for ALS charities will hopefully translate to increased medical research on the disease, which affects up to 8 out of every 100,000 people worldwide (2).
CEO and Chairman of GE Jeff Immelt has also taken part in the ALS ice bucket challenge that has been sweeping the internet for the past few weeks. “It’s a great cause,” he said. “I’m amazed at what you guys [who have done the challenge] have been able to accomplish. It’s an honor to join such a great group.”
Here is our own selection of the five best ice bucket challenge videos so far. As well as being incredibly creative, these also do a sterling job of informing viewers about motor neuron disease and raising awareness for the ALS Association.
For GE, the ice bucket challenge also aligns with its MIND campaign, designed to help those with neurodegenerative disorders.