One of the men who helped launch the ‘ice bucket challenge’ in the UK says rock stars and fans who took part have made a real difference to sufferers of motor neurone disease.
Steve Bell – a self-confessed rocker and veteran of both Download and its predecessor Monsters Of Rock – is a director of care with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and was the first person in the UK to film his own ice bucket challenge.
And he couldn’t have been more proud of the rock community when he saw the likes of Dave Grohl, Duff McKagan, Def Leppard, Kiss and Jason Becker taking part. Guitar virtuoso Becker has ALS and performed a modified version of the challenge as he thanked everyone who had taken part.
The 2014 social media phenomenon saw people from all walks of life taking part in a stunt that saw them pour buckets of ice cold water over their heads to raise awareness of motor neurone disease (MND) – also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
As part of their videos, participants would ‘call out’ friends to record their own ice bucket challenge.
Originally launched in the US to raise funds for the ALS Association, it soon swept across the globe and people in the UK were taking part in aid of the MND Association.
Bell tells TeamRock: “It was amazing to see rock stars taking part. Seeing bands like Kiss and Def Lep doing it on stage as part of their performance was special.
“Jason Becker’s video was just fantastic, a real tear to your eye moment.”
In the UK, more than £7million was raised for the MND Association, while in the US the ice bucket challenge brought in $115m in funding for the ALS Association.
And Bell says that cash has already been put to good use. He adds: “Straight away, £5m was invested in bringing some of our projects forward, which is massive.
“From my point of view as a director of care, it meant we could give better care to people with MND and their families.
“In the UK, there is still just a trickle of money coming in as a result of the ice bucket challenge, but in America they’ve managed to turn it into an annual thing that will take place every August until they find a cure.
“That’s a real legacy for what started out as a small social media thing.”