ALS Ice Bucket Challenge inundates the Internet, brings in big bucks

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge inundates the Internet, brings in big bucks

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - If you didn't believe in the power of social media before, you might now. In less than a month, tens of millions of dollars have been raised to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

If you haven't heard of the ice bucket challenge yet, you've probably not been on the internet over the past month.

Facebook pages have been inundated with family and friends doing it and the rest of the Internet has been bombarded with people trying to do it and failing.

But while the videos are fun to watch, the reality behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is very serious.

"Earlier this year, I actually had a neighbor that died of ALS after battling it for two years," Ryan Vaughan said in his video.

"This is made very special to me because of one of our guests on Midday," Diana Davis said while recording her Ice Bucket Challenge.

ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gerhig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease eventually leads to death.

"No matter how long you have with your loved one, knowing that they're going to die is never easy," Jana Chamblee, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi at ASU, has seen first hand how ALS affects someone. Her grandpa was diagnosed with the disease in 2009.

"He started losing the ability to speak, he stopped being able to eat," Chamblee explained. Her grandfather passed away a few years later.

"It's overlooked very often," Chamblee told Region 8 News.

That is, until now. After the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, Chamblee challenged her sorority sisters, who plan to challenge other groups at ASU as well.

"By seeing ALS on social media or just hearing about the Ice Bucket Challenge, referring to ALS, they go and look it up," Chamblee's sorority sister, Mallory Floyd said.

The challenge has spread awareness like wildfire and has raised unprecedented amounts of money for the ALS Association. According to their website, from  July 29 to August 20, 2013, the organization raised $1.9 million. In that same time frame this year, that number jumped to $31.5 million dollars.

The Alpha Omicron Pi sorority plans to do the ice bucket challenge Sunday night on the front steps of the sorority house.

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