You've probably seen friends and family members willingly pouring chilly buckets of ice filled water over their heads, the latest social networking trend intended to draw attention to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and which over time can lead to total paralysis. Not only are average Joes and Janes participating, but so are some heavyweights in the tech industry, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
When doing the challenge, it's customary to call out other people to do the same. Gates was challenged by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and when finished, Gates issued a challenge to Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk, television host and backer of the Typo 2 iPhone keyboard case Ryan Seacrest, and TED curator Chris Anderson. Should they accept, they'll join other high profile personalities in the land of tech such as Microsoft chief Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, along with celebrities in all fields of entertainment.
Gates is no stranger to the camera and in keeping true to form, he brings his distinctive geeky humor to the challenge that's reminiscent of the Windows commercials he starred in before retiring from Microsoft to concentrate full-time on his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It starts with Gates drawing up a blueprint and making a semi-3D model before picking up a blowtorch to build his custom contraption. And of course it ends with Gates getting drenched in ice cold water.
According to a report in The Seattle Times, a Microsoft spokeswoman said Gates also made a monetary donation to the cause, but declined to say how much.
Wondering of these challenges make a difference? ALS as of Friday said it received $9.5 million in donations compared to the $1.6 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 15). That's a tally of both existing donors and 184,812 new ones.
"We’re heartened that the momentum of this incredible visibility continues," said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We are so thankful for the generous outpouring of donations and people’s interest in learning more about ALS."