You may remember the 2014 social media campaign that got everyone – from your colleagues to your grandma – involved.
Some called it out as a fad, other said it was a noble but futile effort. However, the Ice Bucket Challenge has, thankfully, proven many skeptics wrong. This social movement has managed to fund Motor Neurone Disease (ALS) research, leading to an essential gene discovery known as NEK1.
According to scientists, NEK1 is one of the most common genes that is the cause of ALS.
The Ice Bucket Challenge involved pouring ice and water over the head, and was created to raise awareness of the disease and collect funding for treatment by circulating videos around social media. The idea behind the activity was to donate cash to the ALS Association during the same day of the challenge. The activity is then passed on through the nomination of three other people, thus allowing for propagation of the campaign through a sense of mutual involvement.
Although the challenge has been criticised for often focusing on the individual rather than the awareness of the disease, volunteers have still managed to collect enough money to finance the aforementioned new study.
The money has aided at funding the biggest study of inherited ALS in history. Scientists led the studies from the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the University of Massachusetts, who are hopeful that this may be a giant step in finding the cure for the disease in the future.
Here’s to many more of these triumphs for the human race!