The short answer is: an idea that turned out to be marketing genius and has spread like wildfire to help with a very worthy cause.
If you watch the video below, you can even see me doing the Ice Bucket Challenge–getting cold, soaked and challenging some of my fellow TV Meteorologists to join in on the fun and the mission.
Ice Bucket Challenge Explained
The Ice Bucket Challenge started in the Boston area after the Captain of the Boston College Baseball Team was diagnosed in 2012 with the condition known as ALS. He is now paralyzed.
He had been a star athlete, captaining Boston College’s Division I baseball team. And as he continued to play both abroad and stateside, his skills started to falter, and his control of his arms and his play became frustrating.
In his essay, he described the moment he figured out his condition:
I was staring in disbelief at an ALS website, with a list of symptoms as if someone had been following me around and watching my every move. The patient they were describing was me.
It took many more months of tests and uncertainty, but my worst suspicions were finally confirmed.
I was mentally prepared for the fight of my life, but the hardest part of it all was telling my now-wife, family and friends that I no longer knew what the future held for me. The truth was I was now staring a disease in the face that had no cure and no effective treatment.
Prescribed little more than various over-the-counter vitamins, I was entering a gun fight armed with the equivalent of a plastic spork.
Never heard of ALS before? You are in good company. The ALS Association estimates half the people in the United States have never heard of the condition and this campaign is changing that.
The ALS Association says it has raised more than 4 million dollars since the #IceBucketChallenge started sweeping the United States in late July 2014. Compared with about 1.2 million during the same time frame last year. And that is only part of the story.
Says the ALS Association Director, “While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible,” said Newhouse, “the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable. People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight to find treatments and a cure for ALS.”
Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe.
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? And now it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. Here are signs and symptoms of ALS. If you want to help, here’s the link to the ALS Association to make a donation or find out more about the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Maybe, just maybe, we can ‘challenge’ our way to a cure for those diagnosed in the future with ALS.