Ice bucket challenge funds ALS breakthrough

Taylor Swift was one of many celebrities who did the ice bucket challenge
Taylor Swift was one of many celebrities who did the ice bucket challenge

Cynics poured cold water on the ice bucket challenge when it went viral in 2014, dismissing it as a pointless stunt.

But in weeks the global social media phenomenon raised more than NZ$200 million dollars for research into ALS - also known as motor neurone disease.

And that money is achieving breakthroughs.

Scientists have discovered a gene variant associated with the condition, which means therapies can be individually targeted.

They say it means they're significantly closer to finding an effective treatment for the disease, which causes progressive muscle degeneration.

The ice bucket challenge started in 2013 with a former Boston college baseball player.

Pete Frates dared his teammates to do it to raise money for research into motor neurone disease, which he has.

The challenge snowballed due to online peer pressure, an innate desire to show off and loads of celebrities taking the plunge.

Nearly 2.5 million tagged videos of the challenge are circulating on Facebook, and what started as a craze has become a story of hope.

Newshub.

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