Ice Bucket Challenge Funds Huge Breakthrough!
This time last year we had all just started to regain the feeling in our fingers and toes after dumping buckets of ice cold water over our heads.
In Ireland alone, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised over €1 million through LIKECHARITY’s Collect platform, which let shivering participants donate €2 to IMNDA via a simple text.
But what became of those 550,000 text messages?
The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association have released information on what your donation has helped them achieve this last year.
- €180,000 was used to hire a third IMNDA nurse, who assists the 330 people living with MND in Ireland.
- €300,000 was spent on specialist equipment that helps improve the quality of life for those with MND.
- €500,000 established a reserve fund, to make sure the IMNDA is around for years to come.
- Over €600,000 was designated to research to see out their goal of finding a cure for MND.
But what was the Ice Bucket Challenge: a flash-in-the-pan Facebook fad, a helping hand or the beginning of a something life changing for people living with Motor Neurone Disease?
Where It All Began:
The Ice Bucket Challenge started in New Zealand in June 2014 with Kiwis completing the challenge and donating to the charity of their choice. By July the craze had made its way to the States where The ALS Association stamped their name on it.
The Association work with people who suffer from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
When the challenge crossed the Atlantic the ALS cause stuck. Known to the Irish as Motor Neurone Disease, the MND team in Dublin worked tirelessly to encourage the Irish to participate and donate.
Why did the Ice Bucket Challenge benefit ALS? Purely because they got there ahead of the curve, and the early bird caught the 100 million dollars worth of worms.
The ALS Association invested a majority of this $100 million into research, under the guide of ALS researcher Dr Jonathan Ling.
Dr Ling took to Reddit recently to set the record straight on the Ice Bucket Challenge, “I mainly wanted to do this (Reddit discussion) because I remember reading a lot of stories about people complaining that the Ice Bucket Challenge was a waste and that scientists weren’t using the money to do research, etc. I assure you that this is absolutely false. All of your donations have been amazingly helpful and we have been working tirelessly to find a cure”.
Dr Ling then announced that his team have made a major breakthrough in ALS research!
Through research funded by Ice Bucket Challenge donations they have found that a particular protein called TDP-43 doesn’t function correctly in 97% of MND cases. The team have now begun to create therapies that will hopefully make up for this deficiency. This means the progression of MND will be slowed down dramatically.
Considering only 20% of those with Motor Neurone Disease live for more than five years following diagnosis - this discovery is life changing for people suffering with the disease.
Dr Ling said he hopes to have his therapies in clinical trials by 2018, “with the amount of money that the Ice Bucket Challenge raised, I feel that there's a lot of hope and optimism now for real, meaningful therapies".
You can find out more about The Ice Bucket Challenge at www.imnda.ie/ice-bucket-challenge-2015