We’ve all heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but many are unsure of what it is and exactly how it started. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord causing the death of the nerve cells and the paralyzation of the patient.
“The only reason why I know about ALS is because after I was nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, I did my research about ALS,” junior Hanna Nadir said.
After many creative challenges performed to raise money to many kinds of different charities. The ice bucket challenge was initially started by Chris Kennedy on July 15th 2014. Kennedy decided to donate to ALS and make the ice bucket challenge the main charity that donations go to while nominating his wife’s cousin to take on the challenge in the 24 hour time slot allotted. To not be outdone by her cousin, Senerchia accepted the challenge and posted the video to Facebook the next day using the hashtag StrikeoutALS to support a newly formed organization to raise money for her husband, Anthony Senerchia, suffering with ALS.
“My cousin Chris sent me a message telling me to check my Facebook,” Jeanette Senerchia told TIME. “He nominated me as a joke because we bust each other’s chops. I was just going to donate money.”
Former Boston College baseball player, Peter Frates who now has ALS, became an advocate for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Frates completed the challenge in his wheelchair and nominated his community around him. His connections with Boston College helped in the spreading of raising awareness. The cold water is supposed to represent the paralyzing sensation that patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) experience.
“This is a creative way to spread ALS awareness via social media and in communities nation-wide,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association.
Up to date the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $100 million dollars, compared to the 2.8 million dollars raised in 2013 all from the donations from actors, actresses, singers, political figures, and even people who want to help in raising awareness and money to go towards Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
“What started out as a small gesture to put a smile on Anthony’s face and bring some awareness to this terrible disease has turned into a national phenomenon and it is something we never could have dreamed of,” Kennedy told TIME.