It all began with a challenge. A challenge to spread awareness about a disease that takes your ability to talk, walk, and eventually breathe and swallow, before it takes away your life. In the summer of 2014, a series of viral videos swept the internet. More than 17 million people poured buckets of ice water on their heads in an effort to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also knowns as “ALS.” The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, as it has become known, is an annual event to raise awareness and funds to find a treatment and a cure for ALS. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS causes the death of neurons which causes muscle weakness throughout the body.
The ALS Association is the only non-profit organization fighting ALS. The association leads the way in research, and public education. In 2014, more than 17 million people uploaded their challenge videos online; these videos were watched by 440 million people a total of 10 billion times. Since starting the Ice Bucket Challenge in the summer of 2014, the ALS Association has raised $115 million dollars. That money has been used to accelerate The ALS Association’s work to find treatments and a cure for the disease through research, care services and public policy initiatives.
Although no cure for ALS is known, in recent years, there has been a wealth of new scientific understanding of this disease. Annual government funding for ALS research has also increased over the years from $15 million in 1998, to $950 million. The increase in funding has increased global awareness and research efforts. Global research efforts have increased the number of scientists working on ALS studies. Scientist are making new breakthroughs in ALS research and the ALS Association hopes to develop a cure within the next 15 years.
For more information about the ALS Association, please visit: http://www.alsa.org/