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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Raises Millions Nationally

Viral Sensation raises thousands for CT Chapter

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Norwalk, CT | Added on August 21, 2014 At 04:53 PM

By now, you've probably seen the thousands of videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge, raising awareness and funds for an incurable disease.

"Here we are in August 2014 and an ice bucket challenge comes out of nowhere and it really points a finger at ALS as a disease that everyone should be aware of," said Mike Burke, Executive Director of the ALS Association Connecticut Chapter.

For the past few weeks, everyone from your friends to celebrities and politicians have taken the challenge, which has taken the internet by storm.

But what is ALS? ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Many people know it as Lou Gehirg's disease and between 250-300 Connecticut residents are affect with ALS.

"ALS is a neuromuscular degenerative disease that is always fatal for which there is no cure and no treatment. What happens is the brain tries to send signals to muscles and that is what makes us move around, breathe, talk and everything else that we do. Unfortunately with ALS patients, the signal doesn't get to the muscle and gradually, sometimes rapidly, the muscles start to die," said Burke.

Doctors are still trying to figure out how is starts and why.

"It is typically people who are 55 years or older but we see plenty of case of people in their 20s and 30s. We know that men are 20% more likely to get ALS then women are and we know of the 30,000 Americans who have ALS, 93% are caucasian. We also know that military veterans are twice as likely as other people to get ALS, but we don't know why."

Since the challenge videos have spread on social media platforms, there has been an increase in donations.

"If we were to compare a three week period from August 2013, we saw 100 donors and about $12,00 - $13,000 in donations. In that same 15 day period, we have seen 2,000 donors and $115,000 because of the ice bucket challenge.

According to the national association, the challenge broke all-time daily donation records on Tuesday, raising $8.6 million. Between July 29 and August 20th, over $31 million has been raised in donations and that number will likely continue to grow.

"For us to have the spotlight for a little while is having leaps and bounds on its impact on our patients. We are constantly hearing from people saying "This is great" or "I a can't believe this is happening for us," and it is giving them hope," added Burke.

I have been nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge and I nominate the Norwalk Police Department, the Norwalk Fire Department, Greenwich Selectman Drew Marzzulo as well as my It's Relevant News co-workers.

For information about ALS and how you can donate, visit

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