The Iowa Chapter of the ALS Association is launching a campaign this month to raise awareness and funds to build on what was started with the highly-popular Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014.
Chapter executive director Josh Nuss says the new campaign, “Every Drop Adds Up,” offers a variety of options to people who want to contribute to helping find a cure. “We really wanted to give the public a chance to fundraise somehow for the ALS Association in August,” Nuss says. “Whether it’s every step they take for one of our walks or whether it’s every double-bogey they make in one of our golf tournaments or whether it’s dumping a bucket of ice water on their head, all of those small acts add up to great things.”
ALS walks are planned in the coming weeks in Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and the Quad Cities. As part of the 2014 challenge, thousands of Iowans dumped buckets of ice water on their heads while challenging others to do the same thing in addition to making a donation. Videos of the acts went viral and even Governor Branstad got drenched while making a pledge.
Thanks to social media, it raised $350,000 in Iowa that year and more than $115 million globally. The organization launched the new campaign this month as a way to continue the momentum that started two summers ago. “There’s ways for people to get creative and that’s what this is all about,” Nuss says. “If the Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t a way somebody wants to get involved, maybe their school wants to do a fundraiser or they want to have a garage sale and donate those funds, or have a barbeque, all of those individual acts add up to a potential treatment, a potential cure for ALS.”
ALS is a relatively rare disease that only afflicts about 250 Iowans. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It’s a motor neuron disease which usually attacks both upper and lower motor neurons and causes degeneration throughout the brain and spinal cord. Once diagnosed, life expectancy is usually only two-to-five years.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this story)