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Whatever happened to… the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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WATCH ABOVE: On the latest episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, Erica Vella revisits the story of the ice bucket challenge. She speaks with the wife of one of the co-creators as well as a woman who was diagnosed with ALS about her experience with the disease – Dec 17, 2020

On this episode of the Global News podcast Whatever Happened To…?, journalist Erica Vella revisits the story of the ice bucket challenge.

In 2014, social media feeds were flooded with videos of people showering themselves in ice-cold water; the goal was to raise awareness and money for ALS.

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

Julie Frates’ husband, Pete Frates, was one of the co-creators.

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“Our good friend Pat Quinn, who has ALS and lives in New York, he was challenged and in that challenge, he also named one of Pete’s good friends,” she said.

“Pete saw it immediately and thought, ‘OK, … everyone’s got to get on this right away,’ and I remember sitting down that night at dinner and he directed all of us to go on Facebook and just continually start challenging people and sharing it.”

READ MORE: Ice bucket challenge-funded drug trial gives ALS sufferers new hope

The campaign went viral. Celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Gates joined in on the dare and raised over $220 million globally.

“It was unfathomable,” she said.

“It was shocking for us and it was shocking for everyone in the medical community. Everyone who had spent their whole career trying to research this disease. It was kind of like such a huge windfall. It was amazing and overwhelming and completely hard to grasp.”

READ MORE: Whatever happened to… the 33 trapped Chilean miners

Pete was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2012. The disease weakens muscles and impairs physical functioning. There is no known cure.

Erica Vella speaks with the family that started the viral campaign to see what has happened since 2014 and endeavours to answer: did it lead to any positive change?

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Contact:

Twitter: @ericavella

Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

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