Viral Ice Bucket Challenge turns 5



Ice Bucket Challenge: 5 years later, the community commemorates the impacts of the wave

Montreal, July 31st, 2019 – Summer of 2014 marks the 5th anniversary of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This worldwide phenomenon, created by the community touched by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), quickly became viral and had a significant impact on raising awareness, on the services offered to people touched by ALS and their loved ones, as well as research.


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged people to dump buckets of ice over themselves and donate to an ALS organization. Rapidly, a wave of solidary overwhelmed the internet. Challenges taken by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Oprah, Ellen Degeneres and Justin Timberlake heightened the challenge to an international level. In Canada, 17.2 million dollars was raised, including 2.66 million in Quebec. More than 79,000 Quebecers got soaked and truly made a difference in the fight against ALS.


Thanks to the wave of donations in Quebec, the Ice Bucket Challenge had a measurable impact on the ALS Society. Funds raised helped to maintain its current services and introduce a new respite program for caregivers and a special program for kids whose parent is living with ALS. For caregivers who devote their daily lives to their loved one, the respite program provides financial aid that allows them to hire a help for a loved one while they take a break to re-energize themselves. Since 2015, 18,684 hours of respite have been given to families touched by ALS thanks to the Ice Bucket funds.

The ALS Society’s program for kids offers each family up to $300 per child per year so that they can pursue their extra-curricular activities during a parent’s illness. Since its inception, 80 kids benefitted from these funds which also gives them a break and keeps them active and engaged with their friends during difficult times at home


The Ice Bucket Challenge also allowed the ALS Society of Quebec to dedicate $1.7-million to ALS Canada’s Research Program. Combined with a matching gift of $10-million from Brain Canada, a total of $21.5-million was invested in research, including 91 research grants, thus giving hope to the ALS Community.


ALS by the numbers

  • More commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that attacks the body’s nerve cells, and is usually fatal within five years. The cause is unknown and there is no effective treatment.
  • People living with ALS gradually lose their ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. They become prisoners within their own bodies, without losing their intellectual faculties.
  • In Canada, 2,500 to 3,000 people are living with ALS, including 600 in Quebec;
  • For every new ALS diagnosis, 1 person dies of ALS;
  • ALS can affect anyone: 90% of cases are random and 10% of cases are hereditary.


About the ALS Society of Quebec

The ALS Society of Quebec is a non-profit community organization that provides programs and services to families touched by ALS at all stages of the disease. Promoting, subsidizing, and advancing research on the causes, treatment, and cure of ALS are also integral parts of the Society’s mission, which survives on donations and proceeds from various fundraising events. For more information or to make a donation:

To support the ALS Society of Quebec, here are our future events:

Walks to End ALS:

  • August, 25th: Laval
  • September, 8th: Rivière-du-Loup
  • September, 15th: Montreal
  • September, 22nd: Charlevoix

Ride to Fight ALS :

  • August 23rd to August 25th at the Auberge Godefroy in Bécancour


Claudine Cook, Executive Director, ALS Society of Quebec
1 877 725-7725 p.101 (work) | 514 285-0540 (Cell) |

Roxanne Goulet, Communications coordinator, ALS Society of Quebec
1 877 725-7725 p.102 (work) |