Chances are, if you’ve logged onto Facebook within the past week, your newsfeed has been flooded with videos of your friends pouring buckets of ice water on their heads. It might seem a bit odd, but as you might know, it’s all a part of the #IceBucketChallenge, the newest trend in social media activism.
What’s its purpose? Raise awareness for ALS—Lou Gherig’s Disease—a neurodegenerative disease.
How does it work? A person is “nominated” by a friend to take the challenge, either by pouring ice water on himself or herself and posting a video of it, or donating $100 to ALS research. Then, that person nominates three more friends to do the same. And on it goes.
Is it actually working? Oh yes. Between July 29 and August 6, ALS donations have increased 400%, according to the ALS Association, a mighty boost in response to a fatal disease that the association previously estimated nearly 50% of the population didn’t even know existed.
The man behind the phenomenon? Pat Quinn, a 30-year-old Yonkers native and ALS patient.
After being diagnosed on March 8th, 2013, Quinn looked for others his age who shared his rare diagnosis, which is when he found Pete Frates. He reached out to Frates by email, and after meeting for lunch near the ALS Development Therapy Institute in Cambridge, Mass., the two quickly became friends. #IceBucketChallenge donations now benefit Quinn’s Quinn for the Win, and Frate’s #3 Fund.
Dr. Steve Perrin, one of the leading researchers at ALSTDI, just told Good Morning America on Wednesday that donations to ALSTDI this week alone have increased ten-fold, Quinn said.
“To see different numbers like that, it kind of gives you a sense of hope that the times are changing, maybe. You could get a treatment option, and a cure down the road. It really is all about the awareness and the sense of hope that it’s building, not only for me, but for families and for other patients,” Quinn said.
The Quinnstock Facebook page is where Quinn for the Win posts information on upcoming events in Westchester. He’s planning a festival-type event that will take place in September.
“It’s kind of like a stepping stone. We’ve built an amazing, amazing amount of momentum right now for the ALS community. I really just feel we can’t backtrack now.”
Search #icebucketchallenge on any social media site to get an idea of how many people are joining this trend. Here are a few highlights from Vine.