By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS? It’s working.
Money raised from the campaign has led to an important research breakthrough in the treatment of the neuro-degnerative disease.
Until now there’s been very little progress in the fight against ALS also known as Lou Gehrig Disease.
While ALS was known as early as 1869 it wasn’t until 1939 that baseball player Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease when he was diagnosed with it.
In the past two years, 17 million people posted videos online taking the Ice Bucket Challange for ALS.
The instant sensation quickly raised $115 million.
“I couldn’t believe how fast it took off,” says 41-year-old Wes Rose who suffers from ALS.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is aimed at helping people like Rose who was diagnosed 11 years ago.
“It’s a bad deal, but look at what I have,” said Rose. “I have the life that I’ve always wanted and so to be able to say that, it’s hard to complain frankly.”
He’s married with two sons and has been able to continue teaching biology at Arcadia University.
But eventually the neuro-degenerative disease will paralyze him to the point of being unable to breathe.
“Yeah I think about what’s coming in the future,” Rose said. “It’s scary, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I wasn’t scared about what’s going on.”
But now there’s new hope that money from the Ice Bucket Challenge has lead to an important genetic discovery that is expected to lead to better treatments.
“It’s an exciting time,” says Rose. “It’s another example of people’s money at work, I mean the ALS Association has been able to use that money to get real results.”
It might be too late for Wes but he’s already defied the odds.
The paralysis symptoms have been slower for him and he’s lived much longer than most people with ALS.
“If it could help me, that would be great, but i think it’s more exciting to think about there will be fewer people in the future that could deal with this” said Wes.
The Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t over.
One advocate from Philadelphia will be visiting all 50 states in 30 days during the month of August hoping to raise more money for research.
Visit alsphiladelphia.org to find out more.