Ice Bucket Challenge Flooding Social Media

If you have been on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter recently, you have most likely seen videos of people getting buckets of ice-cold water poured over their heads. But why exactly are tens of thousands of people taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge?

The Ice Bucket Challenge aims to raise awareness and collect donations for The ALS Association. How does ice-cold water do this? Once a person is nominated, he or she has two choices: accept the challenge and nominate friends and family or donate $100 to the ALS charity of his/her choice. Each nominee has 24 hours to complete the challenge and post a video.

Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Robert Downey Jr., Lady Gaga, Chris Pratt, Drake, Joe Jonas, Tom Hiddleston and Bill Gates are among the many celebrities who have accepted the challenge. One celebrity has taken a different approach to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Charlie Sheen tilted his bucket over his head and said, “Oh wait. That’s not ice, that’s $10,000 in cash which I am donating to the ALS Foundation because let’s face it, ice is going to melt, this money is actually going to help people.” He proceeded to challenge his nominees to do the Ice Bucket Challenge identical to his own.

Although University of St. Francis students may not be able to donate $10,000 like Sheen, some are trying to do more than just the challenge. Sophomore Hannah Tadey completed the challenge Tuesday morning in the middle of campus. “I’m going to donate money for each ‘like’ I get on Facebook,” she told me before she accepted her challenge. Following Tadey’s example, junior Brandon Newberry also said he would be donating money for each “like” he receives on his Facebook post.

In a recent press release, Barbra Newhouse, the President and CEO of The ALS Association, thanked the tens of thousands of people who have donated and helped raise awareness through the Ice Bucket Challenge. She also said the money and awareness has become a game changer in the fight against ALS. Between July 29, 2013 and August 19, 2013, The ALS Association received $1.9 million. During the same period of time this year, The ALS Association has received $22.9 million dollars in donations. The donations come from existing donors and 220,255 new donors.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. People with ALS eventually lose the ability to control muscle movement, which can lead to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. Currently, there is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. FDA that modestly extends survival. The ALS Association’s mission, according to their website, is to lead the fight in treating and finding a cure for ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy while empowering people with ALS and their families to live fuller lives by providing compassionate care and support.

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