ALS – The Phenomenon

As a creative agency, we are always thinking about the next big thing, that campaign concept or viral stunt seen around the world. It is needless to say that in addition to the over 1.2 million people who have shared videos on Facebook and those who have contributed to the 2.2 million mentions on Twitter, we are fascinated by the success and reach of the recent ALS , Ice Bucket Challenge.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is said to effect 30,000 patients at any given time.

There is much unknown about the disease and how it progressively attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Yet, thanks to the help of Pete Frates, who was diagnosed at just 27 the disease is quickly becoming a house hold name.

Of course just like anything garening media attention the Ice Bucket Challenge has it’s skeptics many of whom argue that the phenomenon has done little to encourage actual donations . However as a long time fundraiser and supporter for the cause, which I lost my grandfather to just last year, I think we have a lot to be grateful for. Donations have soared with the ALS Association reporting on August 18, 2014, that it had received $15.6 million in donations compared to $1.8 million during the same time period (July 29 to August 18) in the prior year. With everyone from Bill Gates to Justin Bieber accepting the challenge it’s difficult to argue that there is not a drastic uptick in awareness.

Thats just it, Mr. Frates’ goal was to raise overall awareness and funds to help one day change the outcome for those who are diagnosed with disease. Thanks to a little help from social media and countless ice trays its clear he has succeeded.

To help join the fight to defeat ALS donations can be made at: ALSA.org.

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