Ice bucket challenge brings in millions to ALS research

WATCH ABOVE: The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken social media by storm but is it making any money? Rachel Lau examines whether the fundraising efforts have paid off.

MONTREAL – In less than a month, the ice bucket challenge has become a regular sight on social media.

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“What’s nice about this campaign is all you need to participate is a smart device and access to the internet,” said Ethan Cox, social media expert.

“Everyone can access water and ice and a bucket. It’s not too hard.”

The ice bucket challenge is an online campaign to raise money for  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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“As it picks up steam, it becomes an awareness and a fundraiser,” said Claudine Cook, Executive Director of the ALS Society of Quebec.

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“It was not just get a bucket of ice dunked on you, make a donation and spread the word.”

The idea of the challenge is a simple one.

“The interesting question with these things is to what extent are we raising awareness quote unquote and to what extent are we actually having an impact,” said Cox.

READ MORE: What is ALS? The disease behind the ice bucket challenge

Yet, it has been more successful raising money than previous fundraisers.

“We’re definitely seeing that it is making a difference,” said Tammy Moore, interim CEO of ALS Canada.

“Last year in comparison we had less than $1000 in donations at this time and now we’re heading more into the six figures.”

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neuromuscular disease that kills nerve cells leaving the muscles paralyzed.

“It’s a fatal disease,” said Cook. “People have a life expectancy of 2-5 years. There is no cure and there’s nothing to slow it down so it’s a devastating disease.”

The challenge to find a cure is quickly picking up steam.

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WATCH: West Island football team takes the ice bucket challenge
Global News takes on the ice bucket challenge. Gloria Henriquez/Global News

It made its way to Montreal just one week ago.

“When I saw it coming, I said you know what, I better do my dunk so I did and then I challenged our board members and staff,” said Cook.

“It’s the funds that are coming in and it’s a message of hope for people who have been touched by ALS, who are living with ALS, that our voice is being heard and there’s a movement behind supporting our cause.”

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The movement has been an inspiration for many and it shows no sign of slowing down.

“It’s gone viral. People’s awareness levels are massively raised and also millions of dollars have been raised,” said Cox.

For people to do the ice bucket challenge, they usually have to be nominated.

Global News wants to nominate all our viewers.

You can post your videos on our Facebook page, or e-mail them to us at

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