Ice Bucket Challenge Floods Social Media

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Updated: Sun, 17 Aug 2014 10:58:20 CST

People across the country are soaking their heads to raise awareness for a devastating disease, and today one local group, is bringing awareness to the heartland with an annual event.

It's a shock to the system, but it's for all for a good cause.

"It was cold but it was nothing compared to what these patients are going through so I can take the cold for them," said Tammy Stalzer with ALS in the Heartland.

On Sunday ALS in the Heartland held their 3rd ALS Awareness walk in Grand Island. The topic of conversation? The ice bucket challenge videos that are flooding the internet.

"The social media aspect of it is awesome all of the celebrities the millionaires out there anything that we can do to get funds of this disease is amazing so I'm all for it," said Lisa Chadek, who lost her father to ALS.

Densel Rasmussen was diagnosed with ALS this May.

"It's getting used to that new normal meaning that there's some limitations from what I used to do," said Densel Rasmussen, who has ALS.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

"It robs you of your body but your mind is completely in tact," said Chadek.

ALS is fatal and there is no cure. 90% of patients die within two to five years. Lisa chadek's father was diagnosed with ALS at 70 and at 73 he died.

"It was very hard to watch he was a very proud Italian man loved life loved being with his family and his grand children and slowly he was unable to walk," said Chadek.

Donations to the ALS association have just reached over $13 million. Last year the organization saw less than $2 million in donations.

The reason the ice bucket challenge has been so successful in raising awareness is because after you take the challenge you nominate your friends to take it, then they nominate their friends, and so on. So I'm challenging everyone who's watching this video, good luck.

Local organizations like ALS in the Heartland are reaping the benefits too.

"Our organization alone made close to 1000 dollars last week," said Stalzer.

Normally they are lucky to raise 100 dollars in a week.

"I don't think that many people would be aware and the millions of dollars that have been raised for als research wouldn't have been realized," said Rasmussen.

And for those suffering with the disease, it's given them new strength.

"This isn't about getting ready to die this is about living life to its fullest," said Rasmussen.

ALS in the Heartland provides therapy for patients with ALS in all of Nebraska and Western Iowa. 93% of the donations the organization receives go directly to the patients they serve.