A Viral Sensation: The “Ice Bucket Challenge”

Have you been wondering why everyone on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is pouring ice cold water on their heads? A rash of broken air conditioning coupled with a heat wave?

Nope. It’s just part of ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter’s “Ice Bucket Challenge.” The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.

It originated in Massachusetts with Pete Frates, a former Division 1 college athlete who has lived with ALS since 2012 and worked tirelessly with The ALS Association’s Massachusetts Chapter to spread awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

This viral sensation, which has used the hash tag #IceBucketChallenge, has attracted thousands of followers, including Boston Bruins stars Brad Marchand and Torey Krug, who willingly dropped frozen ice on themselves and issued the challenge to others.

According to an August 13 press release from The ALS Association, between July 29 and August 13, The ALS Association and its 38 chapters raised $5.7 million in donations compared to $1.2 million during the same time period last year. The donations came from existing donors and 106,955 new donors to The Association.

UPDATE: By August 16th 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $11.4 million, nearly 10 times more than the same period last year. Here’s a visualization, Statista’s “Chart of the Day” which was published by Forbes on August 18, 2014.



For more background on this viral peer-to-peer fundraising sensation check out:

Details from The ALS Association

An August 7, 2014 article in Mashable

An August 10, 2014 piece on The Today Show

An August 10, 2014 article in The Boston Herald

An August 11, 2014 article in Time