It'll Take More Then Ice Bucket Challenge to Cure ALS
Written by Alex Wiederspiel
Last updated on August 22, 2014 @ 11:07PM
Created on August 22, 2014 @ 6:00PM
By now just about everyone has seen the thousands of Ice Bucket Challenge videos all over the internet and thanks to these videos $42 million have been raised for ALS. But will your dollars actually make a difference?
At 5 News we would all like to think so after getting ice water dumped on us this week, but more may need to be done to make sure those dollars don't go to waste. Your donations can make a difference, but more needs to be done--and it's not just for ALS.
Budget cuts at the National Institutes of Health have undermined the ability to do research on many diseases--including ALS. Experts say that the $42 million raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge will be a shot in the arm for ALS research, but that it won't be enough to aid in the long-term.
Why exactly? Because the NIH budget hasn't increased to match inflation--and even worse--it's budget was cut by at least 5% during the sequester. After initially doubling the NIH's budget in the 90's, Congress has slashed their budget by 25% in the last decade. That equates to $6 billion, and if you're keeping score at home that's nearly 14 times the amount of money that the ice bucket challenge has raised.
"For us to do our jobs appropriately we need these research centers," said Dr. Chris Courtney, an Adult Reconstruction Specialist at UHC. "They're important, and this is what ALS is bringing to stage for all of us. They're bring to stage that we need help with research."
Most people we spoke to said that they hope that the ice bucket challenge will help lead to a cure for ALS, but first that's going to mean more NIH funding.
"The problem is now we have this sudden surge with the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but without our government getting involved [or] without going through Congress we're not going to have the funding for the long-term to support this," said Mara Squires of Fairmont.
So what can you do? Call your local congressman or congresswoman and tell them to start putting funding back into the NIH because these diseases won't cure themselves.
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