The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Funded a Big Medical Breakthrough

Flickr/Anthony Quintano

People pouring buckets of ice water over their heads flooded Instagram and Facebook feeds last summer. Chances are, you took part in it along with hundreds of celebrities.

While fun, the purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge was to raise awareness and money for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Well, two years after the challenge took the world by storm, scientists have discovered the gene responsible for ALS.

The funding raised from the challenge made the breakthrough possible. The University of Massachusetts Medical School's Project MinE was able to discover the gene after the ALS Association gave them a $1 million donation -- all money from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The discovered gene is called NEK1. This is incredibly important because it will help figure out how to treat patients suffering from ALS.

ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerves in the brain and spine. The disease causes muscle weakness and loss of motor control. Then, eventually, the disease directly impacts the nerves that allow breathing and other essential bodily functions to be possible.

CNN reports that 17 million people have done the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on social media, and $115 million has been raised because of it.

What an amazing reminder of the impact that we as individuals can have on something so important!

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Funded a Big Medical Breakthrough