A fund raising campaign for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) called "ice bucket challenge" has put the disease in the spotlight.
ALS is also called motor neurone disease (MND) and Charcot disease. In the U.S., the disease is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a neurodegenerative disease with various causes. ALS weakens the muscles of the affected, who may find it difficult to swallow and breathe.
According to the U.S. ALS Association, the disease is present in many parts of the world. The ALS Association suggests that about 5,600 people are diagnosed with the disease every year in the U.S. around 30,000 people may have ALS at any given time in the country.
The average life expectancy of a patient after ALS diagnosis varies between two to five years but more than 50 percent of the people diagnosed with ALS live for over three years. ALS Association also reveals that around 20 percent of the people diagnosed with ALS live for over five years, 10 percent of the people live for up to 10 years and about 5 percent of the patients may also survive to up to 20 years after diagnosis.
The ALS Association has started a fund raising campaign called the ice bucket challenge, which is soaking the entire nation. The campaign is straight forward. It calls for people to donate $100 to the ALS Association or get a bucket full of ice poured on them on a video. The participants can put the challenge to more people via social media to raise more money for the good cause.
"We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease," says Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. "We couldn't be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative."
The ALS Association claims that between July 29 and Aug. 12, they have raised an astonishing $4 million from the campaign when compared to $1.2 million during the same period in 2013.
Famous people including Justin Timberlake, Ethel Kennedy, Ansel Elgort, Victor Cruz, Martha Stewart, Matt Laurer and many more have already taken the challenge.
Ethel Kennedy has also challenged President Barrack Obama to take the challenge; however, it seems that he will not accept the challenge as Eric Schultz, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary said that "his [President Obama's] contribution to this effort will be monetary." Schultz said that the president will make a donation to the charity soon.