Slacktivism. A waste of water. Other charities need it more. You don't even know what ALS is!
The Ice Bucket Challenge had critics aplenty during the 8-week challenge in 2014. Say what they will, but there are over 115 million green little reasons proving that criticism was for naught.
Like the many activism fads that have come and gone, one might think this one would just fade into oblivion as well. However, twice now, in August of 2015 and now again recently, news has been released explaining just how the Ice Bucket Challenge continues to make waves. Pun unintentionally intended!
In August of last year, scientists at Johns Hopkins announced advancements in the understanding of a dysfunctional protein, TDP-43, primarily due to an increase in funding from the ALS fundraiser. Discoveries were made around replacing the destructive protein with a mimicked version, allowing a damaged cell to heal. That was one big step in finding a cure for the disease, which causes nerve cells in the brain and spine to deteriorate. Eventually, patients deteriorate to the point of losing the ability to breathe.
This year, yet another big announcement has been made. A research project at the University of Massachusetts Medical School called Project MinE received one million dollars for their ALS research, little did they know it would help fund a huge breakthrough. They identified a gene, NEK1, that is the most common gene found in all ALS patients. With a gene to focus on, new medications can start to be developed to treat and potentially cure ALS.
The Challenge Is Here To Stay
Like the selfie and the dreaded "bae," the Ice Bucket Challenge is one online epidemic not going anywhere, anytime soon. The foundation's fundraisers hope to make it a yearly fundraiser, and it's already slated to come back again this August. In 2014, with the help of the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Chris Pratt, Taylor Swift, and cute couple Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, the challenge raised a LOT of money, two-thirds of which went to actual research.
Need a reminder of the kind hearted meme that swept the nation? Here are a few of the best videos to come out of the movement.
Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
Could this guy get any more brilliant?
Ben & Christine
440 million people watched 17 million challenge videos uploaded to Facebook a total of 10 billion times. Mine included!
Those are just from 2014. In 2015, Justin Bieber partook in the challenge again, along with Hugh Jackman and Renee Zellweger, among others. Zellweger even stood in a horse trough as not to waste any water in drought conditions.
The 2015 challenge only raised about $1 million, but remember; it was "only" a million dollars that helped the MinE team make its most recent discovery!
The 2016 Ice Bucket Challenge
This year's challenge begins again in August. It may be unlikely the movement will bring in the amount of money raised in its first year, but every penny counts, and no amount of awareness will ever be too much. Visit the ALS website for more info!
Buckets and cameras at ready, people!