On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie challenged Mark Zuckerberg, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Jimmy Fallon to the ice bucket challenge, a viral awareness-raising campaign for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. The following day, the tech mogul gamely rose to the challenge, posting a video on Facebook that shows him dumping a trash can full of icy water on his head. (Booker and Fallon also gladly stepped up to the plate.)
Unsurprisingly, the experience was "really cold," Zuckerberg said after the icy deluge.
Zuckerberg has now dared Bill Gates, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to complete the challenge. "You guys have 24 hours to complete the challenge or you have to donate to the ALS foundation -- or both," Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. "Finding ways to treat and cure ALS is an important cause."
ALS is a "progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord," according to the ALS Association. People with the disease lose control of voluntary muscle movement, and they progressively lose their ability to walk, eat, speak and, eventually, breathe on their own. The disease is "100% fatal," the ALS Association says.
As the Associated Press notes, the "months-old" ALS ice bucket challenge was recently kicked into high gear after Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, used the campaign to raise awareness about his condition. "I am nominating myself for the #icebucketchallenge cuz I can," Frates wrote on Facebook on July 31. Frates went on to challenge a bunch of people to do the same.
Since then, the ice bucket challenge has spread like wildfire on the Interwebs, and people everywhere -- including big names like Justin Timberlake, Matt Lauer and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo -- have been posting videos of themselves pouring ice water on their heads to raise awareness about ALS.
Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of the ALS Association, said in a press release this week that she's been blown away by the response.
"We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” Newhouse said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative."
According to the ALS Association, there has been a whopping 1,000 percent spike in donations since the ice bucket challenge went viral. Donations to the organization's national office "surged during the 10-day period that ended Thursday to about $160,000, from $14,480 during the same period a year ago," the AP writes.
Since July 29, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received more than $4 million in donations, the organization said.
"While the monetary donations are absolutely incredible, the visibility that this disease is getting as a result of the challenge is truly invaluable," Newhouse said, per the release. "People who have never before heard of ALS are now engaged in the fight to find treatments and a cure for ALS."