Ice Bucket Challenge Raises Big Money for ALS

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It's a social media phenomenon that's sweeping the country -- or perhaps dousing it.

The ice bucket challenge, started in Boston, has raised more than $9 million to fight ALS -- also known as Lou Gherig's Disease -- since July 29.

"This has just absolutely gone berserk," said Paula Morning, who works with the ALS Association's Michigan chapter. "We have dates planned into late September that are doing it at family reunions, back to school events."

ALSA says it's only heard positive reviews from patients who suffer from ALS and their caregivers.

And the money is rolling in. The $9.5 million dollars raised since July 29 towers over the $1.6 million normally raised. Those donations have come from more than 184,000 new donors.

"This represents so much hope, so much positive input," said Morning. "People are learning and I think that that is a valuable part of it. Of course the money will help research, advocacy and patient care, but people seem to generally be doing it out of care."

Nick Barnowski took the challenge for his dad, Don, who lost his battle with ALS in 2012.

"In honor of my dad I'd be willing to do anything, so dumping a bucket of ice water on my head isn't that big of a deal at all," he said. "It may be something as silly as dumping water on your head but it's much more of a deeper meaning to it."

For his mom, Maggie, it's a promising weapon in the fight against a disease that has no cure.

"It gives me hope that it's raising awareness," she said. "Maybe down the line because of the awareness it's raising, there will be a cure."

The money raised for ALSA will be spread to many different parts of the organization, including research, advocacy and patient care.

A separate organization, ALS of Michigan, has also seen a big bump in donations. The executive director says she's seen thousands of dollars raised in just days.

It even has an Ice Bucket Challenge team for its Sept. 21 ALS walk, which has raised $2,000 on its own.

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