BALTIMORE (WJZ) — From social media to millions: the viral videos of people dumping ice cold water over their heads has translated into big money for non-profits.

Marcus Washington has more on the meaning behind the madness.

The challenge is quite simple: dump a bucket of ice water over your head or make a monetary donation to a non-profit.

“And when you do that, you nominate a person to do that challenge, too,” said Carla Schubert.

What’s become a movement of awareness and financial support is catching on quickly. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gained a new grown of national attention from former athlete 29-year-old Peter Frates out of Boston who lives with ALS. Here in Maryland, it has been former Ravens star OJ Brigance.

From unknown people to famous challengers and now to organizations. With buckets in hand, Johns Hopkins doctors and researchers are accepting a challenge from doctors at Harvard.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal degeneration of nerves and muscles.

Donations are typically down during the summer months for non-profits but that has not necessarily been the case for ALS-affiliated organizations.

“I think they’ve raised within days upwards of $25,000, very quickly, hundreds of calls. And we’re talking about just one site,” said Dr. Jeffery Rothstein.

The National ALS Association has received $1.35 million within a two-week period. Compare that to the $22,000 donated during the same time last year.

“We ran one of the largest trials ever in the United States in ALS because of a patient-oriented donation approach so these kinds of efforts are both awareness and fundraising and are just incredibly important,” Rothstein said.

It’s become a social phenomenon with a purpose that’s helping make a change.

“People helping people is the best feeling in the world,” Schubert said.

To donate, click here. To learn more about the Brigance Brigade, click here.

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