The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS – known as motor neurone disease (MND) in Australia – is a social media campaign that was initiated by American Pete Frates, a former Boston College captain who is living with the terminal neurological disease. For most people living with MND, the early symptoms – slurring of words, difficulty holding objects or stumbling – rapidly escalate to an unstoppable wave of paralysis that robs them of their ability to move, eat, swallow and finally breathe. There is no effective treatment or cure for MND.
The Ice Bucket Challenge involves people posting videos on social media of participants being drenched with ice water to raise awareness and money for ALS/MND. The participant then nominates three people to either take the Challenge or make a donation to an ALS/MND association.
Since Peter Frates posted his challenge online to raise awareness of MND, the Ice Bucket Challenge quickly went viral and is now spreading across Australia's MND, sporting and entertainment communities.
In Australia the Ice Bucket Challenge started to gain widespread publicity when Hamish McLachlan, host of Channel 7's Game Day completed the challenge on live to air TV. Hamish was challenged by Patrick Cunningham who together with his wife Angie who is living with MND conceptualised and initiated Laugh to Cure MND to raise money for the MND Research Institute of Australia. Laugh to Cure MND will be holding a world record attempt in Melbourne for the largest number of people simultaneously performing the Ice Bucket Challenge at Etihad Stadium on Friday 22 August.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is now being taken up by some of Australia's most famous people, the first being Russell Crowe who was challenged by Ricky Gervais. Russel Crowe nominated Hugh Jackman who commented on social media that he is planning something big.
More information: www.mndaust.asn.au/icebucketchallenge
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is known as MND (motor neurone disease) in Australia.
MND is a progressive, terminal neurological disease
There is no known cure and no effective treatment for MND
Each day in Australia two people die from MND
Each day in Australia two people are diagnosed with MND
People with MND progressively lose the use of their limbs and ability to speak, swallow and breathe, whilst their mind and senses usually remain intact
Average life expectancy is 27 months
An estimated 1,900 people have MND in Australia
Just some of the famous people who have been ice bucketed:
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Challenging Bill Gates
Justin Timberlake challenging Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon challenging the New York Jets