Charity Campaign Leads to Discovery of Gene-Related Disease

September 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. campaign / kæmˈpeɪn / (n.) – a series of activities intended to achieve a goal
Example: Many youth organizations supported the campaign against bullying.

2. nominate /ˈnɒm əˌneɪt/ (v.) – to suggest someone to do something
Example: They nominated him to represent their school in a competition.

3. fund /fʌnd/ (v.) – to provide the money for a program or organization
Example: A group of professionals funded his college education.

4. cure / kyʊər / (n.) – a means to treat a disease
Example: Researchers are looking into a possible cure for the Zika virus.  

5. selfie /ˈsɛl fi/ (n.) – a photograph taken by someone who is also in the photograph
Example: She likes posting her selfies on her social media sites.

Read the text below.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media charity campaign, led to the discovery of a gene associated with the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [ey-MAHY-uh-TROH-fik LAT-er-uh l skli-ROH-sis] (ALS).

Launched in 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged people to dump buckets of ice- cold water over their heads and nominate others to do the same while they were being filmed. Millions of people, including celebrities like Bill Gates, Stephen Curry, and Mark Zuckerberg, participated in the campaign, which aimed to increase awareness for ALS and raise researchfunds for treatments of the disease.

In just two months, the campaign was able to raise $115 million for the ALS Association. Sixty-seven percent of the money was used to fund research projects, such as Project MinE, which discovered NEK1, a gene associated with ALS.

ALS is a disease that weakens the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Currently, the disease has no cure. According to Brian Frederick, executive vice-president of communications and development at the ALS Association, the discovery of the gene will help researchers better understand ALS and find possible treatments.

Aside from the Ice Bucket Challenge, another social media charity campaign became popular in 2014 — the No Makeup Selfie Challenge. The said campaign, which aimed to raise breast cancer awareness, was able to raise £8 million for Cancer Research UK in just six days. Thousands of women participated in the campaign by posting their pictures without makeup on social media sites and nominating their friends to do the same.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is your opinion on the Ice Bucket Challenge?
·         Why do you think the Ice Bucket Challenge was a success?

Discussion B

·         Given the chance, would you also participate in a social media charity campaign? Why or why not?
·         Aside from raising funds for research, what are other benefits of social media?

September 25, 2016