ATLANTA - If you’ve been on the Internet in recent weeks, the “Ice Bucket Challenge" cannot be missed, but the awareness campaign has been a big boon for local people suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS.
Thousands of people are challenging their friends, dumping buckets of ice water on their heads in the hopes of raising awareness, and money, for the ALS Association.
Hundreds of gallons of freezing cold water later, many are left wondering what has been gained.
“I think there's two sides to it. There is the feel-good feelings of doing it just to do it and feel-good that you helped bring some awareness to it but that's so important. And now, as the challenge has continued on, the impact has really been seen in donations and contributions nationally and locally,” Sarah Embro of the ALS Association Georgia Chapter says.
What started out as a trickle has turned into a flood of financial support. Locally, donations for the ALS Georgia chapter have skyrocketed.
“We’ve spent years with our Georgia legislators just trying to bring awareness to a disease that’s been underfunded and not very well known about, so it’s perfect timing,” Embro says.
The Georgia chapter says the challenge makes it easier to talk about a difficult topic.
“It’s a cruel, devastating disease. It’s terminal. No one currently survives. We don’t have survivor shirts at our walk,” Embro says.
As donations flow in along with the frigid water, they’re a growing hope that change is coming.
“Hopefully because of this, in the near future there will be results from research. There will be treatments and ultimately a cure,” Embro says.
As of Friday, the ALSA has raised over $53 million, compared to just $2.2 million for the same time period in 2013.
The Atlanta walk to defeat ALS is Saturday, September 13 at the Georgia World Congress Center International Plaza.