Ice bucket challenge becomes viral sensation

Cal Lanouette
Sports Editor

The main reason the ALS Association has received a huge spike in donations in recent weeks is the ice bucket challenge, which has made its way through the entire United States.

Since July 29, the ALS ice bucket challenge has helped raise nearly $94.3 million. During this same time period last year, the ALS association had only raised $2.7 million, according to

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

ECHO staff members challenge the Kirkwood Call to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The challenge consists of pouring a bucket of ice water over one’s head, which produces a freezing sensation through one’s neck and back, resembling the pain someone with ALS might feel with damaged nerve cells in their spinal cord.

According to, amyotrophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no or negative, “myo” refers to muscle, and “trophic” means nourishment, which is ultimately “No muscle nourishment.”

ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per 100,000 people annually. About 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. Though ALS is not contagious, it can happen to anyone; just a few notable people that have had ALS are Lou Gehrig, Professor Stephen Hawking and “Sesame Street” creator Jon Stone.

The success of the ice bucket challenge for raising so much money for ALS is maybe because celebrities have become involved and the people doing the challenges are finding unique ways of doing it.

One way of doing the challenge stood out the most. The Foo Fighters, an alternative rock band, reenacted the scene from “Carrie,” where the pig’s blood is dropped on her except this time instead of the blood, ice water is poured on them.

Senior David Winstein-Hibbs took the ice bucket challenge. “I think it is a great way to raise awareness for ALS because everyone is doing it,” said Winstein-Hibbs. “Before, I didn’t know anything about [ALS].”

To help find a cure for ALS, donate and for more information on ALS, visit the ALS association website at

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