The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge You Probably Hated Just Funded A Breakthrough
People post all sorts of annoying things on social media. If you think back to a couple of years ago, you might remember the almighty “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
You know, the ALS fundraising initiative that involved dumping a bucket of freezing cold water over your head to raise money for research? The novelty of watching people pour cold AF water on themselves quickly wore off once this charity campaign went viral and totally inundated our Facebook feeds.
In fact, many people even deemed the challenge an ice cold display of slacktivism.
However, it turns out the suffering we endured from either doing the challenge or having to watch it 936,532,136 times on Facebook was all worth it because the money raised during the campaign was just used to fund a huge breakthrough in ALS research.
Yep, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, a phenomenal $115 million was donated to the ALS Association over an eight-week period in 2014 — $77 million of this was dedicated to research, advancing the search for treatments and a cure.
Of this, $1 million went to scientists working on Project MinE at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Thanks to this, they were finally able to identify the gene that is responsible for causing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
According to Bernard Muller, the founder of Project MinE who also suffers from the disease,
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled us to secure funding from new sources in new parts of the world. This transatlantic collaboration supports our global gene hunt to identify the genetic drivers of ALS.
Over 5,000 Americans are diagnosed with this devastating disease each year. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects cells in the brain and spinal cord, often resulting in total paralysis and death in as little as two to five years after diagnosis.
The findings from this study were published in Nature Genetics and scientists hope the discovery of the ALS-causing gene, called NEK1, will lead to a deeper understanding of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and help scientists figure out better ways to treat the disease.
Citations: Remember The Ice Bucket Challenge? It Just Funded A Major Breakthough In ALS Research (Bored Panda), http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/edau/ibc-progress-infographic.html (ALSA), Ice Bucket Challenge's 2nd anniversary celebrates its gene discovery (CNN)
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