Students participate in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge to raise awareness for the disease.

Delany Oliver, Photographer

Lately more and more people are voluntarily dousing themselves in freezing water, without knowing what the foundation they are raising awareness for even is. The ALS Association is a group that raises money and alertness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or the ALS disease. Participating may seem crazy, but there is a method to this madness. When doused in ice water, the body experiences the sensation of being paralyzed for a split second. The challenge has two outcomes: raising money for the ALS association and raising awareness of what the disease does to the body.

ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a very serious neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. According to the ALS Asso- ciation, motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. Once these motor neurons are degenerated, the patient with ALS loses his or her ability to control the movement of his or her muscles. At this point the illness becomes terminal, and the patient may become totally paralyzed.

The ALS ice bucket challenge, which has re- cently swept the nation off its feet, was inspired by the former Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates. Frates was diagnosed with ALS in March 2012, at the age of 27. After being diagnosed he decided he would make a differ- ence by allowing his diagnosis to bring more attention and action to the ALS Association. When Frates was introduced to the ice bucket challenge in July 2014, he challenged some of his friends to participate in this so-called phe- nomenon. However, he was not expecting the challenge to spread like wildfire and become a national sensation. Athletes throughout the state of Massachusetts began participating and nominating others. Soon enough, the ice bucket challenge became a countrywide craze.