ALS Ice Bucket Challenge 2014 – You Helped Fund An ALS Breakthrough
The internet has strange currency. Between the fixed exchange rates between likes and prayers and the sharability of memes dictating the value of a person or page, it’s hard to imagine people coming together en masse for a good cause.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014 seemed like another passing fad for slacktivists to pretend that they cared about something while raking up those likes and shares for the net to see.
The reality is that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge ended up not only raising awareness as to what Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was and felt like to those that had it, but led to donations totaling $115 million in 8 short weeks and an overall total in excess of $200 million.
And today, researchers have reported an important breakthrough that wouldn’t have been possible without the funding provided from the viral sensation.
A University of Massachusetts Medical School Project by the name of ‘Project MinE’ received $1 million from the ALS association and just announced that they were successful in identifying a gene responsible for the degenerative disease.
The ALS Association’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Lucie Bruijin, explains.
“The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE’s work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result.”
This is the third gene identified by teams using funds from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This specific one stands out because the person leading the research team had ALS themselves.
The criticisms and negativity surrounding the challenge at the time weren’t unfounded, but this goes to prove that, with a little direction, the masses can actually come together to do something wonderful.