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Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising money and awareness for ALS

If someone asked you to dump a bucket of cold ice water over your head, would you do it? What if it was for a good cause, would you do it then? This is the question behind the Ice Bucket Challenge that has swept social media by storm.

The Ice Bucket Challenge asks people to record themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head then challenging someone else to do the same. Anyone who fails to complete the challenge within 24 hours must donate to a charity of their choosing. Though any charity is fair game for a donation, the challenge has most recently become associated with the ALS Association, which is currently researching treatments and a cure for ALS.

For those who may not know, ALS, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in a person's brain and spinal cord. The nerve cells, which transmit messages from the brain to muscles in the body, slowly die off as the disease progresses. As the neuropathways become less and less, messages are no longer able to get through, which leads to muscle weakness and even paralysis.

Although ALS is listed on the Social Security Administration's list of Compassionate Allowances, meaning a person with this disabling disease qualifies for disability benefits, some believe that with enough funding, a cure can be discovered. This could lead to, over time, a reduction in the number of people with the disease who need disability benefits to subsidize their finances.

So far, the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought in $31.5 million in donations for the ALS Association and will be used for research of a cure.

Sources: The ALS Association, "What is ALS?" Accessed Aug. 20, 2014

The ALS Association, "Ice Bucket Challenge Still Going Strong: $31.5 Million in Donations to The ALS Association," Accessed Aug. 20, 2014

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