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Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Reach $22.9 Million To ALS Association

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The viral ice bucket challenge that's all over your Facebook feed has lead to record donations for the ALS Association.

As of Tuesday, The ALS Association has received $22.9 million in donations over the last three weeks from people who took videos of themselves being doused with cold water.  That's compared to $1.9 million donated during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.

Also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

"Our top priority right now is acknowledging all the gifts made by donors to The ALS Association," said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association in a news release. "We want to be the best stewards of this incredible influx of support. To do that, we need to be strategic in our decision making as to how the funds will be spent so that when people look back on this event in ten and twenty years, the Ice Bucket Challenge will be seen as a real game-changer for ALS," she continued.

So what exactly is the Ice Bucket Challenge? The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.

Beverly, Mass., resident Pete Frates, along with his family, helped to make the "Ice Bucket Challenge" go viral on the social sites Facebook and Twitter. A former Division 1 college athlete, Frates, 29, has lived with ALS since 2012, and he has worked with The ALS Association's Massachusetts Chapter.

This viral sensation, which has used the hash tag #IceBucketChallenge, has attracted thousands of followers who willingly dropped frozen ice on themselves and issued the challenge to others.

"This is a creative way to spread ALS awareness via social media and in communities nationwide," said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association in a news release. "We thank Pete Frates and his family for getting so many people involved in spreading the word about ALS."

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Have you taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Share your videos here.

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