You’ve seen the videos, you’ve laughed out loud lots. But do you know the real reason behind the #ALSIceBucketChallenge that has made the “Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign legit? Let’s take your attention away from your social media platforms’ newfeeds for a bit, take a walk down memory lane, and get a quick history lesson.

While it seems like it’s for fun and laughter, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” stems from a real problem. A serious one, in fact. It started in Massachusetts with former Boston College baseball player, 29-year-old Pete Frates, who has been battling ALS since 2011. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2012:



As seen in the above video, Frates, who can no longer speak, posted his own ice bucket video to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby” and dared a few people to try it. At first, he called out just his Boston College friends but a social media firestorm has since ensued, extending well beyond the gates the college.

More about ALS: It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness, loss of the use of arms and legs and difficulty speaking, breathing and swallowing. It’s also very much fatal.

Source: Dulcie Teesateskie/Huntsville Times
Source: Dulcie Teesateskie/Huntsville Times

ALS can strike just about anyone in the world and the chances of survival are inconsistent: 20% of people with ALS live 5 years or more and up to 10% will survive more than 10 years and 5% will live 20 years.

One such other person who has suffered from the disease for many years now is none other than the world’s most celebrated brilliant physicist, Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking

As seen in numerous videos, the campaign requires an individual to dump a bucket of ice water on their head. After which, they’re allowed to challenge 3 more people to do the same within 24 hours. If someone refuses, the penalty is donating USD100 to the ALS Association. As simple as that!

The ALS Association’s mission includes providing care services to assist people with ALS and their families through a network of chapters working in communities across the nation and a global research program focused on the discovery of treatments and eventually a cure for the disease. So rest assured, donations are going to a legit place.

Celebrities taking on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge in the past week
Celebrities taking on the #ALSIceBucketChallenge in the past week

Of course, some celebrities have taken on the challenge but not only did they complete it, they’ve also donated to the ALS Association after. In fact, as of 19th August (Tuesday), the ALS Association has received a whopping USD22.9 million in donations as compared to USD1.9 million during the same time period last year (29th July to 19th August). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to the Association.

These people are testaments to that:

So, tell us, is this not the most successful viral campaign of our time (to date) yet? We think so!

Let’s not forget that whether or not you get called out to take on the challenge, you can also make a donation to the ALS Association here. If you want to do your part, you know where to go.

For more information, visit the ALS Association’s official website.

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