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Impact Of The Ice Bucket Challenge For ALS

August 18, 2014, 5:01 PM by Sammi Bjelland

Impact Of The Ice Bucket Challenge For ALS
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

You may have seen your friends on social media, dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. Even celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Jon Bon Jovi, are taking part in the fundraiser.

It's called the Ice Bucket Challenge. And it's a chilly way to raise awareness for ALS-also, known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  We met a woman whose life has been changed by the disease to find out what she thinks of all this attention.

"A few minutes of looking silly. It is brutally cold, I will say, very cold. But ALS patients suffer tremendously, and it's a few seconds to do just a world of good," Erin Hill, who lost her dad to ALS, said. 

Hill lost her dad to ALS, a progressive degenerative disease, in 2012. She says the disease took away his upper body strength and killed him just nine months after his diagnosis.

Hill says this kind of national attention is exciting because ALS isn't typically in the spotlight.

"It's so rare that it doesn't really get a lot of attention from pharmaceutical companies. There's not a lot of motivation to cure it because so few people in the world who have it in comparison to other diseases. Well now all of a sudden it's gone viral," Hill said. 

And going viral online is raising awareness and money. This time last year, the ALS Association had $1.8 million in donations.  Monday, the organization announced it has received $15.6 Million and it credits the Ice Bucket Challenge for the surge in gifts. Hill hopes this kind of money will be the key to finding a cure. 

"We told him as a family we would do whatever we could to fight the disease. And now to see millions of people do it. Everybody is a role model. There's little kids doing it. Classrooms, whole families, whole sports teams. In a world where we can't fix everything that's wrong, we can try to fix this," Hill said.

With the ice bucket challenge, you have the choice to either dump a bucket on your head, make a donation or do both. 

You can donate at the ALS Association website.

A few KELOLAND News team members have taken the challenge.  See clips from Brittany Larson, Brady Mallory, Ben Dunsmoor and Don Jorgensen below: 

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