Ice Bucket Challenge raises 'unprecedented' $13.3M for ALS - KMSP-TV

Ice Bucket Challenge raises 'unprecedented' $13.3M for ALS

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The videos have whipped up a social media storm, and the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a major splash in Minneapolis. In just 2 weeks, more than $13 million has been raised -- and so has awareness of ALS.

It's estimated that only half of the public is even aware of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It's a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spine, specifically the ones that control voluntary muscle movement. There is no known cure, but officials at HCMC say the so-called Ice Bucket Challenge is making a big difference.

Since July 29, the ALS Association has welcomed more than 250,000 new donors. On Sunday, the organization said the challenge has inspired "unprecedented" giving, with $13.3 million raised since the end of July. Last year, just $1.7 million was raised during the same time period.

When Dr. Esgi Tiryaki was asked to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness of ALS, she said it was the least she could do -- and she wasn't alone. A few children, other members of the HCMC staff and a even other neurologists and doctors did the same. So did Fox 9's Iris Perez.

YOUTUBE: Iris Perez takes Ice Bucket Challenge

At any given time, there are about 30,000 Americans -- 500 of whom are Minnesotan -- living with Lou Gehrig's disease. The degenerative muscular disease is rare, affecting only one to two people in about 100,000 -- but it's one that is always fatal. Currently, there is only one drug approved by the FDA for treatment of ALS, but it is only known for moderately extending survival by a few months. Now, the president and CEO of the ALS Association says the success of the ice bucket challenge is opening new doors for exploring other solutions.

"I know that many people are wondering what The ALS Association is going to do with these donations, and my answer is this: invest prudently in helping people with ALS and their families and caregivers in the battle against the disease, while resolutely pursuing all avenues to extend, improve and ultimately save lives," Barbara J. Newhouse wrote. "Never before have we been in a better position to fuel our fight against this disease. Increased awareness and unprecedented financial support will enable us to think outside the box. We will be able to strategize about efforts in ways that previously would not have been possible, all while we work to fulfill and enhance our existing mission priorities nationwide."

MORE: Top priorities for ALS Association

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