Ice Bucket Challenge, by now you should have at last heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Social Media is covered with video after video of people dumping buckets of ice cold water over their head. We see these videos daily and yet not everyone knows the true meaning behind this social media explosion. Just this past weekend, my 5 year old neighbor sent me a video and challenged me to do the ice bucket challenge. I asked her to explain to me what it meant… and she said “it’s about getting wet!” I don’t know that I can fault a 5 year old for not taking on the true meaning, but I have been surprised by how many people are not aware.

So what is the challenge?

The ALS Ice bucket challenge is the act of pouring a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. When challenged, an individual has 24 hours to video themselves getting doused in ice water, or make a $100 donation to ALS – or preferably BOTH!

How did it start?

It’s unclear the actual origin of the Ice Bucket Challenge. I remember early in 2014 seeing cousins of mine jumping into frozen lakes in Michigan or donating to a charity of their choice (personally I think this is much worse than a bucket of water). According to Wikipedia, on June 30, 2014 personalities of the “Morning Drive” show on the Golf Chanel did an on-air ice bucket challenge. Soon after that Matt Laurer did it (July 15, 2014) on the Today Show. On the same day, golfer Chris Kennedy did the challenge and was the first to focus the fundraiser on ALS Research.1

Today, celebrities, athletes, and political figures are getting into the mix. This week it has even hit our office as I challenged Gib to do the challenge, which he accepted and took on the ice bucket in full business attire – complete with suspenders!

While it’s fun to watch your friends shiver under the chill of the ice water, the best part is the massive awareness and fundraising for ALS.

Here are some facts you may or may not know about ALS as posted on the website:

• ALS is not contagious

• It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually.

• Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.

• Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.

• About twenty percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years and five percent will live 20 years. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.

• ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.

• ALS can strike anyone.

• The onset of ALS is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.

• There can be significant costs for medical care, equipment and home health caregiving later in the disease. It is important to be knowledgeable about your health plan coverage and other programs for which your may be eligible, including SSA, Medicare, Medical and Veteran Affairs benefits.

• Riluzole, the first treatment to alter the course of ALS, was approved by the FDA in late 1995. This antiglutamate drug was shown scientifically to prolong the life of persons with ALS by at least a few months. More recent studies suggest Riluzole slows the progress of ALS, allowing the patient more time in the higher functioning states when their function is less affected by ALS. Click here for more information on the drug. Many private health plans cover the cost of Riluzole. Further information on Riluzole coverage through Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit can be found in the Advocacy pages of this website.

The Power of Marketing

According to Time Magazine, from July 29, 2014 to August 25, 2014, the ALS Association has raised $79.7 million to combat ALS from the Ice Bucket Challenge. The company raised $2.5 million during the same period last year. In 2013, the ALS Association raised $64 million for the entire year. This massive social media explosion is a game changer in ALS research funding. This is every marketing executive’s dream to have an idea spread so fast and make such an impact…I love to see this, especially for such a good cause.2

So.. We hope the trend continues and more importantly that all this funding for research can help find a cure for this horrible disease. And if you just can’t get enough of watching people getting drenched in water, here are a few of the challenges we thought you’d like to see.

Gib McEachran -

George Bush -

Ben Affleck -


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
1 “Ice Bucket Challenge.” 2 Time Magazine, Justin Worland, 8/25/2014 “Ice Bucket Challenge Nears $80-Million Mark” 3