Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS returns for year 2, Twins get in on the act


The Minnesota Twins helped launch year two of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraising campaign for the ALS Association that became a huge hit last year through the strength of social media.

It was so successful - raising $115 million for ALS research - that the group decided to do it again this year. The ALS Association teamed up with Major League Baseball to kick off this year's challenge late last month at a Boston Red Sox game, according to ESPN.

All the MLB teams are getting in on the act, and the Twins were challenged to douse themselves with ice water by the San Francisco Giants. They accepted the challenge Saturday, and here's the result.

MLB donated $100,000 to the cause, and said all 30 of the league's teams will take part in the challenge throughout August to raise money and awareness for ALS.

Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that has no cure and is 100 percent fatal.

On a more local level, several hundred people gathered in Hastings Sunday afternoon for an Ice Bucket Challenge they hoped would set a new world record, according to KARE 11. They came up a little short - the official Guinness World Record is 782 people dumping ice water on themselves at the same time.

But the group did raise $14,000 for the ALS Association of Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter. The event was held to honor Lucy Hoffman, a longtime Hastings resident and coach, KARE reports.

A very different but very compelling story of a Minnesota man's life with ALS generated a great deal of attention in the last few years.

Bruce Kramer, who was a dean at the University of St. Thomas, was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 and died in March of this year, but not before sharing his story through a series of interviews on Minnesota Public Radio, “Living with ALS.” In 35 installments, Kramer gave MPR access to his life. He also kept a blog tracking his experience.

The project turned into a book, “We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying,” which Kramer co-authored with MPR’s Cathy Wurzer.

The Ice Bucket effect

The Ice Bucket Challenge became a social media phenomenon in short order last summer. According to the ALS Association, some 10 million "challenge videos" were posted on Facebook last year, and were watched 10 billion times by 440 million people, ESPN notes.

The $115 million donated last year was about four times the groups's average annual giving.

The organization said 67 percent of the money raised from last year's Ice Bucket Challenge is going toward research into potential treatments or cures for the disease. Another 20 percent is paying for patient services; 9 percent is going toward education; and 4 percent is being used for fundraising and processing.

The organization says it's planning to make the ice bucket challenge an annual thing, and hopes it gets as much awareness as October now does as breast cancer awareness month. The ALS Association has even adopted a hashtag to reflect that strategy: #EveryAugustUntilACure.

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