The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ Raised A Ton Of Money For ALS Research And May Have Led To A Major Breakthrough

The “Ice Bucket Challenge” took over the internet in 2014 and 2015. The viral stunt involved a bucket of ice-cold water being dumped over someone’s head to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Everyone took part, including the Game of Thrones cast, Rihanna, and Kermit the Frog; even President Obama got involved, although he declined the challenge and instead donated to charity. It’s easy to look back at that simpler time and 1) wish you had a time machine to warn everyone about 2020, and 2) wonder why the Ice Bucket Challenge was so popular, but it raised a ton of money for research, and may have helped fund a breakthrough.

NBC News reports that an “experimental medication may slow the progression of [ALS], researchers reported Wednesday. The research was supported in part by donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge, the social media sensation that raised more than $200 million worldwide.” The medication isn’t a cure for the neurological disorder, but “it may help slow the inexorable disability caused by ALS, which rapidly destroys the nerve cells that control the muscles that allow us to move, speak, eat, and even breathe.”

“The Ice Bucket Challenge was an important turning point in the fight against ALS,” Dr. Sabrina Paganoni, a neuromuscular specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS, said. “It put ALS on the map and raised awareness of the disease and attracted more investigators and investment to the research.”

For that, we have R2-D2 and Katy Perry on a pirate ship to thank. The researchers and scientists working countless hours to find a cure for a devastating disease, too. But mostly R2-D2.

(Via NBC News)