In the summer of 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge wrapped its frigid hands around social media and didn’t let go for what seemed like all of August. That was two whole years ago. Two revolutions around the sun. Americans hadn’t even been introduced to Left Shark yet.
The idea for the challenge was, if I recall correctly, you dumped a bunch of water on your head and donated money and challenged other people to do the same. And if you didn’t dump the water, you had to give more money. It was a very silly challenge that roped in dozens of major celebrities and one future Republican presidential nominee. (A personal favorite: Vin Diesel challenging Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie, and Putin.)
Today, the ALS Association, which used the challenge to raise $115 million, announced that funds have actually contributed to a major discovery. Researchers discovered the NEK1 gene, “which now ranks among the most common genes that contribute to the disease.” The University of Massachusetts had received $1 million from the campaign, and funded Project MinE, which eventually discovered NEK1.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. You all contributed equally to this important discovery.