The ALS Association is crediting money raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge for the discovery of a gene’s connection to the progressive disease.
The group says a paper published this week in the journal Nature Genetics reveals Project MinE researchers have identified the NEK1 gene’s connection to ALS. It says understanding the gene’s role will help in developing new target therapy for ALS.
The challenge became a viral sensation in 2014 and raised $115 million for the association. Figures from the ALS Association show $1 million of that helped fund a global effort to help find genetic drivers of the condition called Project MinE.
Those who accepted the challenge in 2014 allowed buckets of ice water to be dumped on their heads to raise awareness and money for ALS.
The idea was simple: Take a bucket of ice water, dump it over your head, record it and post the video on social media.
It was cold, fun and contagious. The fundraising phenomenon asked those willing to douse themselves to challenge others to do the same within 24 hours. If they didn’t, they had to make a donation to a certain charity. Each person who participated was to nominate more friends, who nominated more friends, who nominated still more friends, which explains why the trend exploded.
In Clinton County, many companies and organizations as well as families and friends took up the challenge, including Clinton-Massie students and staff — you can view their video from 2014 at https://www.facebook.com/wnewsj/videos/10152379167856553/. Those in the video include Joe Hollon, Norm Stulz, Jim Wagner, Brian Mudd, Chad Cavender, Beth Beam, Holly Young, Kelly Felder, Cindy Stenger, Pandy McCarty, Amy Young, Mary Rizzardi, Dan McKay, Joni Fair, Sara Long, Jana Davis and Connie Fairchild.
Some local residents responded to the News Journal’s Facebook request Thursday asking about their Ice Bucket Challenge experience and whether they would do it again:
• “We would do it again,” said Jason and Beth McCarty, who posted a video of their dousing. “This was one of the most worthwhile fund raising events I have participated in.”
• “Participated and donated,” said Kelsey Swindler. “A family member nominated me, and I donated to both the ALS Association and the Alzheimer’s Association, as it was a nice opportunity and reminder to give to an organization that had meaning for our family as well. Excited to see a social campaign make real change. Reaffirms my belief that people love to do good.”
• “Participated and donated in memory of my grandfather, Rev. Clarence Anderson, who died with ALS,” said Michael Lee Anderson. “What remarkable progress, so grateful!” Paul Anderson said, “Did and would again; lost my grandpa to ALS when I was 3.”
• Several staff members from Roy E. Holmes Elementary School participated in the ice bucket challenge. “I lost my father, Dr. Sidney A. Myers, to ALS,” said Betsy Holmer. “This research is promising. Our daughter Lauren and her husband at their recent wedding in lieu of wedding favors donated to ALS and Alzheimer’s foundations.”