In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral to help raise awareness of the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Slate.com credits Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease, as the creator of the challenge.
The challenge took like wildfire, everyday people and celebrities alike began posting videos and challenging their friends to do the same. While it seemed to be just another fad being entertained in the moment, the campaign actually raised enough money to lead to a significant gene discovery, the ALS Association announced Monday [July 25].
ALS causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to deteriorate over time, eventually affecting patients ability to breathe, which in turn leads to their death usually within a two to five years timespan.
New York Yankees Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, who the disease is named after, passed away in 1941 at the age of 37. At 74 years old, British physicist Stephen Hawking is the longest individual to live with the disease due to his rare case.