It Was More Than Just A Bucket Of Ice

It was a craze that swept social media into a flurry of action, but in the best way.

David Cox Sr. accepting the ALS icebucket challenge. Source: AFGE, Flickr

The ALS Icebucket Challenge was the dare that went global. It didn’t matter who you were or where you’re from, everyone could be a part of it.


So first, what is ALS?

ALS means Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and is a degenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis, then respitory failure. This disease attacks the brain cells that control our spines and keep our muscles moving.

Every 90 minutes someone is diagnosed by ALS.

And most people only have a  2-5 year life expectancy.



The challenge was simple; get a bucket of ice water, nominate 3 people who either have to do the challenge or donate to the ALS, then dump the water over your head.

John Maino, Green Bay radio and TV personality, doing the ALS icebucket challenge. Photo: Chris Rand on Wikipedia


How did it become a viral phenomenon?

Well it was through social media. Particularly it was because of the likes and shares on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that really took the campaign global.

People film doing the challenge and then post it on a social media website with the hashtag #ALSicebucketchallenge or #icebucketchallenge.

  • Facebook: had over 2.4 videos posted, generating another 28 million likes, comments or responces.
  • Instagram: had over 3.7 million videos uploaded using #ALSicebucketchallenge or #icebucketchallenge.
Graph of #Icebucketchallenge on Twitter. BBC News: Lucy Townsend

Big names who got involved

Because of the international atttention this campaign received, there was bound to be celebrities, comedians and politicians nominated. Just some of those names included the likes of:


What was the whole point?

There’s actually two big outcomes from the the icebucket challenge.

  1. Awareness
    Did you know about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis before the challenge, or had you heard of Lou Gehrig’s Disease prior to this?

    I certainly hadn’t. And the statistics show that I wasn’t the only one.

    Search trends for ALS, the icebucket challenge and MND, after different celebrities did the icebucket challenge. BBC News: Lucy Townsend
  2. Funding

Just from July 29 to August 28 2014 there was US $98.2 million raised. There are still on-going donations to ALS, even today. Because of this, August is now the month ALS dedicates specifically to raising awareness and getting donations.

But thanks to the donations from the Icebucket Challenge, there has been a breakthrough!

Scientists have discovered an ALS gene, and this gene has now been identified as a main contributor gene to the ALS disease.


Okay, so this is what I’ve found about the Icebucket Challenge, but what do you think?

Was this campaign a good one? Or do you think they could have done it better?

Did you join in and do the challenge? Or did you donate?

Feel free to let me know below.










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