'Ice Bucket Challenge' in Canada raised $16M
Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014 10:45AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 19, 2014 1:11PM EST
All those buckets of ice water that so many Canadians dumped over their heads this past summer raised a lot of money.
The ALS Societies of Canada announced Wednesday that the wildly popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised a total of $16.2 million in Canada.
More than 260,000 Canadians took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge last summer, filming themselves dumping ice water on their head, uploading the videos to social media and asking viewers to do the same after donating to their local ALS Society.
The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral around the world, to the surprise of ALS Societies that often struggled with tiny budgets and difficulty raising awareness of the disease. The sudden windfall of donations prompted many to ask about how ALS groups were going to spend their sudden surges of cash.
The ALS Societies of Canada, which is a group of 10 independent provincial organizations, has decided that $6 million of the money raised in Canada will go into programs offering support services to the 2,500 Canadians living with ALS.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is an incurable, degenerative disease that slowly robs patients of the ability to move, rendering them dependent on others for everyday tasks. There are no effective treatments for the disease, and most patients die with two to five years.
The other $10 million that was raised will go into ALS research. What’s more, it was announced Wednesday that those research funds will be matched one-to-one through the federal government’s Canada Brain Research Fund, thanks to a new partnership with Brain Canada.
That will bring the total investment in ALS research to $20 million -- the largest one-time investment in the ALS Canada Research Program in history.
“We are incredibly grateful for all of the support and awareness for ALS in the last four months as a result of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” Tammy Moore, the CEO of ALS Canada said in a statement.
She noted that with the extra funds, the total impact of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge will be $26 million.
“We want to thank all of our donors and assure you that we understand how important this is to people and their families living with ALS,” she said.
As for what type of research will be funded by the money, that is still being determined. The ALS Societies say the research projects will be announced beginning as early as December.
In recent years, ALS Canada has shifted much of its research focus toward ALS treatments, rather than cures, so as not to duplicate research work from the ALS Association in the U.S.