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Fundraising tactic offers bracing results

The Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon is one of those things that wouldn't have been remotely possible 20 years ago.

Celebrities and regular people have been accepting and passing on the challenge for several weeks now, raising money for the ALS Association, as well as several million dollars for other charitable causes.

You record a video of yourself dumping a bucket of ice and icy water over your head. You post the video and challenge others to do the same or donate $100 to research on ALS (the donation is $10 if you accept the challenge).

Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a progressive, fatal motorneurological disorder for which no cure is known. There is one FDA-approved drug that extends patients' survival. About 30,000 Americans have the disease; military veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with it.

The bucket-dumping craze began sometime this year, and by late July it was focused on ALS fundraising. Some 1.2 million Facebook videos have been shared, and the phenomenon has been mentioned more than 2.2 million times on Twitter, according to the New York Times.

Tuesday, the ALS Association reported that since July 29, donations are up by $22.9 million over the comparable three-week period last year. Yes, that's right. Three weeks.