Ice Bucket Challenge making a difference in ALS awareness - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ice Bucket Challenge raising ALS awareness

Dr. Ray Onders, with UH, believes the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a difference in raising awareness for ALS. (Source: WOIO) Dr. Ray Onders, with UH, believes the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a difference in raising awareness for ALS. (Source: WOIO)
Dr. Onders was not afraid to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge! (Source: WOIO) Dr. Onders was not afraid to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge! (Source: WOIO)
Hard to recognize, but Chris Van Vliet, Jamie Sullivan and Danielle Serino take on the challenge themselves! (Source: WOIO) Hard to recognize, but Chris Van Vliet, Jamie Sullivan and Danielle Serino take on the challenge themselves! (Source: WOIO)
Head Coach Mike Pettine and Cleveland Browns players take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge. (Source: WOIO) Head Coach Mike Pettine and Cleveland Browns players take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge. (Source: WOIO)

If you've been online lately, chances are you've seen the Ice Bucket Challengefrom celebrities participating, to even our 19 Action News team! One local doctor knows first hand about the disease this trend focuses on and says this movement is making a difference.

Many are dousing themselves with ice cold water and calling out others to do the same, as a way to raise awareness and help the fight against ALS.

It's simple: Grab a bucket of ice water, record it being dumped on your head, and challenge anyone you want to do the same. If they don't, they have to donate $100 to an ALS organization.

"It came out of nowhere. A baseball arena in the Boston area started the challenge," said Dr. Raymond Onders with University Hospitals.

Onders has worked in ALS research for the past 10 years. He is one of the millions of people who have completed the challenge.  

"The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a great fundraiser for research this summer," said Onders.

Great is an understatement. In two weeks, The ALS Association has received $4 million in donations, nearly four times the amount of 2013.

According to the foundation, almost 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year.

Onders' sister also died from the disease.

"ALS is a terrible disease. We don't know the cause. We need more research funding for that," he said.

Critics of the Ice Bucket Challenge suggest it's lazy philanthropy because it doesn't require participants to work for the cause. Onders says the focus shouldn't be the challenge, but the impact.

"It's not just posting the videos," said Onders. "[It's about] bringing awareness to people that we need to work on this to help patients with ALS."

Click here to donate to The ALS Association.

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