Last summer millions of people participated in the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.”
Researchers are now crediting that the viral sensation for helping them get one step closer to finding a cure for ALS.
The challenge has helped raise more than $100 million to fight ALS, and those who have lost someone to the disorder said they couldn’t be happier.
When Mark Hughes found out in 2002 that his father was diagnosed with ALS, he and his family were devastated.
“It was awful. We were hoping and praying for a cure,” Hughes said.
Hughes said his father battled the brain disorder for several years and passed away.
“It was a relief because he was really suffering. His whole body was paralyzed from head to toe,” Hughes said.
However, he turned his heartache into a passion. He was one of the millions who took the Ice Bucket Challenge last year.
Celebrities, former presidents, and many others took part in the challenge.
The campaign helped the ALS Association collect $115 million in less than two months last year.
Philip Wong, one of the researchers at Johns Hopkins University, works to find a cure for ALS.
He said some of the challenge money raised has helped scientists better understand a protein in the brain that is dysfunctional in nearly all ALS cases.
“It really spearheaded some of the research that otherwise we would not be able to do as rapidly as we could have,” Wong said.
While there is still no cure for ALS, Hughes said he is happy researchers are getting close to finding one.
“I don't want anybody else to have to go through what my dad and my family had to go through,” Hughes said.
The groundbreaking research discovered at Johns Hopkins could help other people with other brain disorders like Alzheimer’s.
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