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What happened after the ice bucket challenge?

Austin Machine employees in O'Fallon, Mo., participate in the ice bucket challenge.
Courtesty of ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter
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Austin Machine employees in O'Fallon, Mo., participate in the ice bucket challenge.

Six months ago, the ALS Association’s ice bucket challenge became a viral sensation, raising tens of millions of dollars for the organization.

“It’s hard to believe that something as simple as dumping a bucket of ice water on your head would start such a movement,” ALS Association of St. Louis president Maureen Barber-Hill told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It’s a terminal disease: After a diagnosis, patients typically only live two to five years. The disease shuts down the body: Over time, patients lose the ability to walk, talk and even breathe. The patient’s brain often remains intact as his or her body shuts down.

Nationwide, 15 million people participated in the ice bucket challenge, raising more than $115 million. St. Louis’ ALS Association chapter raised about $300,000. With that money, the group has been able to double funding to the Saint Louis University’s ALS treatment center, increase the nutritional supplements it provides to patients who can no longer swallow solid food, increase in-home care grants and increase home modification grants, Barber-Hill said.  

The St. Louis chapter has another fundraiser in June: the Walk to Defeat ALS is June 27 at Forest Park.

Related Event

Walk to Defeat ALS

“St. Louis on the Air” discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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