Ice Bucket Challenge Raises Over $100 Million for ALS Research
Turns out, pouring buckets of ice cold water over your head was actually worthwhile!
According to the BBC, the popular Ice Bucket Challenge – intended to bring attention and funding to ALS, a nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord – raised $115 million.
The majority of the money collected from the viral stunts reportedly went towards the funding of six research initiatives, one of which has resulted in the finding of a new gene that contributes to the disease.
Scientists said that the newly discovered NEK1 is one of the most common genes that plays a role in the disease, as its link to 3 percent of ALS diagnoses, the New York Times reports.
“There’s an excitement and an energy in the ALS research community that has not been there before,” executive vice president for communications and development for the ALS Association Brian Frederick told the newspaper. “There’s a real sense of hope and optimism among many people living with ALS now.”
The popular trend from 2014 made its rounds on social media where it reached the masses, including celebrities like Katie Holmes, Neil Patrick Harris, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake, many of whom also made monetary donations to the cause.
A 2015 breakdown of funds from the ALS Association showed that $77 million (67 percent) went to research, $23 million (20 percent) went to patient and community services, $10 million (9 percent) was used for public and professional education, while fundraising efforts saw $3 million (2 percent), and another $2 million went to external processing fees.