GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS has gone viral on social media, but is the trend really raising money to help find a cure for the disease?
The Ice Bucket Challenge is an activity where someone dumps a bucket of ice water over their head, donates to an ALS nonprofit and then challenges others to do the same.
As of August 19, the ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year. The donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to the association.
Tanya Peterson, the care service coordinator at the ALS West Michigan Association, said donations have exceeded 200 percent locally.
“I think the biggest thing is raising awareness about ALS and about making ALS more visible in the West Michigan community,” said Peterson.
Statistics show 50 percent of people don’t know what ALS is, according to Peterson.
Five out of every 100,000 people worldwide are affected by ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine. It’s sometimes caused by a genetic defect, but in 9 out of 10 cases, its cause is unknown. There is no cure for ALS.
Online: ALS Association Michigan Chapter