BOISE -- Bucket after bucket of ice cold water has been poured over the heads of tens of thousands of people. All of them wanting to gain awareness for a debilitating disease known as ALS, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The disease has no cure and patients diagnosed with it are only given three to five years to live
The movement known as the Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral on social media and it seems to be working. Over $22 million in donations have gone to the National Headquarters of the ALS Association to support research.
"It's the nature of social media," said Autumn Hume, Executive Director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Idaho, the sister organization of ALS.org
For Hume, the challenge is meaningful for a number of reasons.
"Of course we are really excited about [the Ice Bucket Challenge] and the fact that it is raising so much awareness and money to help drive our resources and services program," she said.
Although the disease is rare -- impacting roughly 60 people in Idaho, Hume believes the awareness is needed to make a difference. However, the money raised in the Ice Bucket Challenge doesn't necessarily go directly to Idaho patients.
Hume said that money goes directly to the National ALS Association unless you donate directly to MDA of Idaho.
"If you go to MDA.org and make donations online, that will be distributed to our national ALS program and will help primarily fund research," she explained. "But yes, donations can stay local in this community."
Idaho is a part of the Evergreen Chapter for the ALS association made up of Washington and Montana as well.
Rick Meek, the Chief Development Officer for the Evergreen chapter tells KTVB while its hard to say specifically, rough-figure donations to National Research is $82,000 with approximately $3,000 donated to the Coeur d'Alene Walk to Defeat ALS schedule for September 6th.
He also said there is no way to tell how much of the donations are impacted by the Ice-Bucket Challenge for now.
Dr. Jackie Whitesell, a neurologist with St. Alphonsus works with roughly 25 patients in Boise through the MDA ALS Clinic at the Elks Rehab Hospital.
She explains that the disease is rare and debilitating.
"People can initially have problems with weakness starting in an arm or a leg, sometimes they can have trouble swallowing and ultimately they have trouble breathing," said Dr. Whitesell.
She believes awareness and the Ice Bucket Challenge is for good. She hopes the money raised will ultimately help bring newly funded research solutions to patients here in Idaho.
"It is really exciting to be able to bring new things to the Boise area and to offer new therapy to these patients," she said.
To donate to the National ALS Association click here
To donate to MDA of Idaho click here