HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) The ice bucket challenges that have taken over social media have also brought awareness to ALS.
With the help of an ice-maker and some donated Home Depot buckets, some ALS researchers got iced themselves.
It was a domino effect at HudsonAlpha after researcher Brittany Lasseigne challenged the city of Madison and her coworkers to an ultimate ice bucket challenge.
“What better place to do the ice bucket challenge but here on the double-helix where the research is being done,” said Lasseigne, a postdoctoral fellow. HudsonAlpha is conducting the largest ALS study of its kind to learn more about the disease. Many community members, including Madison mayor Troy Trulock, got iced to help the awareness effort.
“I needed someone to dump that ice cold water on me, and when I asked my wife, she jumped up and said ‘I’ll do it’ right away. I don’t understand why. But I’m proud to be here today.”
The online challenge has raised $93.4 million in the last 4 weeks — that’s about 50 times what they would normally make in the same amount of time — all to help people like Rick Isaacs who was diagnosed with the disease in November.
“This one was special to me because it’s at HudsonAlpha and they’re working to help find a cure,” said Isaacs, who is one of thousands of patients involved in HudsonAlpha’s ALS genome research.
“Patients and families that have been dealing with this, it’s a blessing to realize that millions of Americans have now seen and heard of ALS and, in many cases, donated to the cause,” said Stuart Obermann, chairman of the Alabama chapter of the ALS Association.
The researchers look forward to continuing their work to understand the condition — once they dry off.
“It’s here at the research institute and it kind of symbolizes the research we’re doing here to find the genetic roots of ALS.”
The Alabama chapter of the ALS Association says they are currently serving over 200 patients.
They estimate there are 400 people living with the disease state-wide.