Are you wondering why so many celebrities and athletes are posting videos of themselves getting drenched in a bucket of ice water? Even the Houston Astros’ mascot, Orbit is getting in on the action!
The answer may surprise you; every person who gets soaked donates a sum of money to the ALS Association, then challenges three other celebrities to do the same. If you choose not to douse yourself within 24 hours, you must make a hefty donation to the ALS Association. They are using social media stunts to raise money and awareness for this disease that claims the lives of many – usually within a few short years of being diagnosed.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a fatal disease that causes people to slowly lose their muscle control. This includes the ability to speak, eat, and even breathe.
Stephen Hawking uses his famous computer and speech synthesizer in order to retain the ability to communicate after being diagnosed at an early age with a motor neuron disease related to ALS. Steve Gleason is another notable name with ALS who has been fighting for ALS awareness through the use of the tag #Nowhiteflags. Gleason is a former New Orleans Saints player who was immortalized in the statue “Rebirth“, showcasing Gleason’s huge punt block during the first home game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
The campaign began in Boston when a former Division I baseball player for Boston College, Peter Frates, doused himself in a bucket of frigid water to raise awareness for the disease. Frates was diagnosed in 2012 after experiencing frustrating loss of control in his arms and worsening his play. In order to bring to light this terrifying disease, for which there is currently no cure and no effective treatment, and raise funds for research, he came up with this brilliant idea for social media.
So far, the challenge has spread like wildfire across the internet and various social media sites.
The ALS Association has reported over $9.5 million in donations since July 29th, the day the challenge went viral, compared to $1.6 million raised during the same period last year. Existing donors, along with 184,812 new donors have all poured in support in honor of celebrities pouring on the freezing water. The ALS Association uses donations to provide care to people with ALS and their families as well as fund a research program focused on finding treatments and dedicated to discovering a cure.
Here is the video of Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, getting soaked and challenging Bill Gates, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg and Netflix chief executive and founder, Reed Hastings:
And here’s Bill’s response video:
The list of famous athletes, web moguls, musicians and television personalities who have completed the challenge is long and ever growing. President Obama was even challenged, but declined in favor of donating a large sum to the ALS Association instead. For a list of athletes performing the stunt go visit Sports Illustrated to watch their videos.
If you’d like to get in on the action yourself, Houston’s very own Jim “Mattress Mack” Mcingvale of Gallery Furniture just recently took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and he is inviting you out to participate in taking your own challenge this Friday, August 22, 2014 at 6pm at the 6006 North Freeway store location. For every participant that takes the ice bucket challenge, Mack is donating $50 to the ALS Association on their behalf! For more information on the incredible event visit the Gallery Furniture Ice Bucket Challenge webpage! Check out Mack’s video below!