Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Here’s How It Just Funded a Medical Breakthrough

The Ice Bucket Challenge of the summer of 2014 was one of those crazy viral trends where people took large buckets of ice water and dumped them on each other. Sure, it was pretty silly, but it was for a good cause: raising awareness for the incurable disease of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a specific disorder that involves the death of neurons that control muscle movement, thus resulting in the gradual and painful decay of the human body.

It was a good cause for a terrible disease, and a recent report shows the funds of the Ice Bucket Challenge just wholeheartedly contributed to a medical breakthrough. Campaign donations have helped identify the primary gene that causes ALS.

In just eight weeks back in 2014, $115 million was donated to the ALS Association, 67% of which was dedicated to advancing research for treatments and a cure, the non-profit reports. The ALS Association said $1 million of the $220 million raised by the 2014 social media campaign allowed Project MinE scientists to locate the gene that causes it.

While it’s still incurable, this is a major step forward into solving the mysterious disease that affects as many as 30,000 Americans currently, with 5,600 new cases every year.

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