August 14, 2014 5:46 pm

Ice Bucket Challenge sweeping social media

Mark Stuart dumps a a bucket of ice water over his head.

Mark Stuart dumps a a bucket of ice water over his head.

Instagram: markdanielstu

WINNIPEG – While some videos are straightforward, others are significantly more epic.

Celebrities and athletes are dumping buckets of ice water on their heads to raise donations and awareness for ALS, a fatal neuromuscular disease that currently has no cure.

It started with a US college baseball player challenging his friends and has since exploded on social media.

Many athletes have taken the big chill, including the Winnipeg Jet Mark Stuart.

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“People have really embraced it and I think people really enjoy not only what it it’s doing but watching those videos and just kind of seeing how fast it spreads,” Stuart said.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has since increased ALS Canada’s reach on Facebook by over 1,200 per cent. It has also added hundreds of new Twitter followers for the organization.

This is a good start according to social media expert, Susie Erjavec Parker, who owns Sparker Strategy Group.

“So now that they have the challenge going on that’s wonderful and a great way to raise awareness,” she said. “Now what can they do internally with their employees, advocates and researchers to keep the momentum going after the challenge is over?”

ALS Canada recently setup its own Ice Bucket Challenge online. Anyone can now create their own challenge and get their friends to donate money. In less than 24 hours, over 4,000 dollars has been raised through the site.

The ALS Society of Manitoba is also hosting an event Friday at the Brummit-Feasvy ALS house. People from all over the city will come together to raise more money and awareness for the disease.

“We need to do as much as we possibly can in order to help people have a quality of life while they’re living with the disease and hopefully continue to do the great research that’s going on”, said Diana Rasmussen, executive director of the ALS Society of Manitoba.

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