If you were anywhere near the internet in 2014, you obviously remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge, which garnered a lot of criticism, challenged people to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads, mimicking the sensation of pain that people who are afflicted with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (AKA Lou Gehrig’s disease or Motor Neuron Disease) often feel.
People got to know the disease a little better when Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with it. Although most people die within 2 to 5 years of diagnosis, Hawking has a rare form of the disease.
ALS causes the body’s nerve cells, which are responsible for controlling the voluntary muscles, to be out of control.
Millions of people ended up taking part in the challenge, which made a ton of viral videos.
The initiative managed to raise over $100 million USD!
That money was actually a really great boost to the researchers at the University of Massachusetts.
It allowed them to discover the actual gene that causes ALS. Meet gene NEK1!
This will allow them to continue to make some pretty amazing leaps towards a cure! By learning how to isolate and control the gene, researchers will be able to come up with something to make it a thing of the past – great news for the 5,600 people per year who are diagnosed! Great job to everyone who ever participated in the challenge!