CLEVELAND - The ice buckets were filled, and ten people—on-air personalities and other staff members from 107.3 The Wave—lined up, ready to take a freezing cold soaking for a good cause.
Videos of people accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge are all over social media. From the New York Jets to Justin Timberlake, to Good Morning Cleveland's Josh Boose, a bucket of ice water over the head is bringing in a wave of donations to national and local ALS chapters.
Executive Director of the ALS Association for Northern Ohio Mary Wheelock said this campaign, fueled by millions of tweets and social media posts, is the biggest thing to happen toward research since Lou Gehrig made his famous speech 75 years ago.
"Over the weekend our national office had $2 million come in compared to a little over $200,000 the year before," she said. In the last two weeks nationwide, the campaign has raised over $7 million. "Ice Bucket Challenge is doing more for advocacy than we could ever imagine."
Money raised helps the efforts of the national and local chapters. In addition to research toward treatment and a cure, funds also go toward care for families of ALS patients and equipment loans. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Progressive degeneration of the motor neurons leads to paralysis and eventually death. There is no cure or treatment today that halts or reverses ALS.
When 29-year-old Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, he and another patient came up with the idea for the ALS challenge. The disease has already robbed Pete of the ability to walk and talk. But his idea could drive new research toward a cure and help countless others who are struggling with its debilitating effects.
The annual Walk to Defeat ALS in northern Ohio is on Sunday, September 21 this year. You'll find more information here.