By Edward Cardenas

SOUTHFIELD (CBS Detroit) – The #icebucketchallenge online fundraiser for the ALS Association has become a viral sensation which has led a nearly eight-fold increase in donations to the organization.

The Association has received $15.6 million in donations from July 29 to Aug. 18,  compared to $1.8 million during the same time period last year. These include donations from 307,598 new donors to the ALS Association.

“We’re heartened that the momentum of this incredible visibility continues,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association, in a release. “We are so thankful for the generous outpouring of donations and people’s interest in learning more about ALS.”

Participants in the challenge take photos or videos of ice water being poured on themselves and post it on social media sites. The participant than challenges others to do the same, or donate $100 to ALS.

According to the Association, ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

There is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that modestly extends survival.

The funds raised through challenge will fund “its present mission-priorities of research, care services and public policy while also considering new projects to move the needle on finding treatments and a cure for the disease,” according to the association.

According to a story in the New York Times,  more than 1.2 million ice bucket challenge videos have been posted on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13 and it has been mentioned more than 2.2 million times on Twitter since July 29.

The challenge has also been accepted by CBS Detroit personnel and local officials:



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