December 19, 2014

‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ helps draw attention to ALS research

Gov. Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Gov. Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

A unique way of raising funds for medical research has many Wisconsin residents getting soaked.

It’s called the Ice Bucket Challenges. While dumping a bucket of ice water over your own head, you get to challenge three others to either do the same within 24 hours or donate money to research for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Melanie Bekos, executive director of the ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter, says the challenge started about two weeks ago on the east coast, and has spread around the world since then. It’s largely due to many celebrities, such as Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, getting wet and posting the videos online. Governor Scott Walker and First Lady Tonette Walker also got in on the fun, challenging Congressman Paul Ryan and others in the process.

Bekos says ALS has received little attention for the past 75 years, without a cause, cure, or treatment being discovered. She says “to have this disease be at the forefront and on the cover of every page, we are so grateful for it.”

In Wisconsin alone, about $12,000 has been raised for ALS research since the challenge started earlier this month.