By Ramona du HouxThe ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is sweeping across America through social media with YouTube and Facebook. The challenge is raising awareness to the deadly disease, ALS, as well as increasing donations to ALS research.Last year from July 29 to Aug. 8, $25,000 was donated to ALS. This year during that same time frame, over $2.3 million has been donated, nationally. The idea came from Pete Frates, 29, a former captain of the Boston College team who has been battling ALS since 2011.In July Pete decided to raise awareness about his disease as the famous baseball player Lou Gehrig did when he was struck down with ALS. Frates created the Ice Bucket Challenge asking people to post recordings on social media sites that show them dumping buckets of ice cold water over themselves. If they don’t not accept the challenge within 24 hours they must donate to the charity of their choice, hopefully ALS.In Maine many Union members have taken up the challenge along with Congressman Mike Michaud, State Senator Emily Cain, Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci, and workers across the state.Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death.Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis comes from Greek. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment. A loose translation of ALS is "No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As these areas degenerate it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in those regions.To join the cause is simply: pour a bucket of ice water over your head, and then challenge a friend or co-worker to do the same within 24 hours. Post your challenge on social media and if it is not met, whomever you challenged should make a donation to ALS.