It seems like everywhere you look on social media, television or elsewhere, someone is taking the “ice bucket challenge” to raise money for ALS. So is it working? And is it safe?
Tanner Hockensmith is with the ALS Association Texas Chapter. He insists not only has the ice bucket challenge raised awareness about Lou Gehrig's disease, it most definitely is bringing in cash for research.
“Nationally our organization has seen over $5 million in donations over the past couple of weeks,” he tells KTRH News. “And a lot of the donations coming in are tagged ice bucket challenge.”
That's compared to just over $1 million raised during the same period last year.
The ALS angle to the challenge started when a former college baseball coach dared players from the New England Patriots as a way to raise awareness about the disease he suffers from.
“There is a large part of the money that goes to research because its needed,” says Hockensmith. “But when people donate, that money also falls to your neighbors on the street level to help people give them a quality of life as they battle the disease.”
ALS is fatal, and there's currently just one FDA approved drug on the market that extends survival for just a couple months.
The ice bucket challenge itself though, does pose minor health risks.
“It can cause the heart rate to drop down precipitously and that can cause someone to pass out.” says Dr. Jeff Kalina and Houston Methodist Hospital. “And ice cold water in the ear canal can cause vertigo and nausea.”
Both issues says Kalina, are rare and only temporary.