Ice bucket challenge leaves Turkish donors cold
Football stars Arda Turan (R) and Burak Yılmaz were among the celbrities who joined the campaign.Social media networks have been flooded with videos of people undertaking the “ice bucket challenge,” and although the global trend went viral in Turkey this week, local campaigners for motor neuron disease research said the fundraiser had not raised as much money as was hoped.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, resulting in progressive weakness usually accompanied by muscle wasting, according to a Turkish ALS charity.
Yakut Kılıç, an official from the Turkish ALS Association, said the foundation has received 330,000 Turkish Liras (about $151,000) in donations since the awareness campaign started.
Kılıç said the association was aiming to establish a clinic for ALS patients, but that the money collected so far was not enough.
“The collected money is far behind what we expected,” he said.
Kılıç said there were over 7,000 ALS patients in Turkey, adding that the foundation had 1,078 registered ALS patients.
The ALS Association in the United States said it had received $70.2 million in donations, compared to $2.5 million during the same time period from July 29 to Aug. 24 last year.
The association said the donations had come from existing contributors and 1.3 million new donors to the association.
Corey Griffin, the man who helped turn the Ice Bucket Challenge viral, died in a diving accident on Aug. 21 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
While celebrities like Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise and Mickey Rourke took the challenge by dumping a bucket of ice-cold water on their heads, Canadian actress Pamela Anderson refused to take the challenge due to purported links between ALS research and animal testing.
Some Catholic organizations have also boycotted the challenge, questioning the ethics of contributing to ALS charities that fund research using embryonic stem cells.