Ice Bucket Challenge

The internet has been ablaze the last couple of weeks with people throwing buckets of icy water over their heads. Why are they doing it?

It turns out that these cold showers are to draw attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease characterised by gradual loss of muscle control, leading to problems in speaking, swallowing and breathing.

Now thousands of people around the world have taken it upon themselves to bring ALS in teh spotlight by throwing buckets of extremely cold water on their heads. Among the people who have already taken up the challenge include Shia LaBeouf, 50 Cent, Bill Gates and George W. Bush (see video below).

The rules are simple. You douse yourself with a container of cold water and then nominate a group of friends to do the same . If they do not do so within 24 hours, they are obliged to donate money to the ALS cause.

Many people have accepted the challenge. The ALS Association has collected $10 million on August 21 alone. Over the whole of 2013, it raised $64 million in donations.

But doctors warn that pouring near-freezing water over your head could be hazardous. The shock from temperature difference could cause some to faint, or lead to some heart problems.

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