Former presidents, singers, athletes, movie and television stars and thousands of ordinary people. The viral ice bucket challenge continues to gain fans around the world.
It also continues to raise millions of dollars in donations to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known by the acronym ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, one of the most serious degenerative diseases.
The ALS Association, the US-based organization to which participants send money, has received $98.2 million from July 29 to August 28, compared to the same period last year that number was $2.7 million.
«Just a week ago, donations reached $22.6 million,» the Washington-based entity said. «In just seven days, donations have skyrocketed by an average of $9 million a day.»
According to the association, this money has produced both existing and nearly two million new people.
Participants and critics
In recent weeks, the ice bucket challenge has become a popular phenomenon on social media, fueled by the participation of well-known figures from politics, sports and entertainment.
In the United States, the list includes former President George W. Bush, singer Justin Bieber, billionaire Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and basketball player LeBron James.
On the other hand, some have preferred not to get wet, such as the president of the United States, Barack Obama, who gave a donation in exchange.
The challenge has also drawn criticism from those who believe it trivializes a serious disease, who complain about the waste of water or who warn of possible health risks.
Likewise, opponents of abortion in the United States, including Catholic clergy leaders, have discouraged participation because the ALS Association supports embryonic stem cell research.
Because these cells are obtained from an embryo that is then discarded, pro-life groups view the process as destroying human life.