Nanjing (China), Aug 25 IANS | 3 months ago

The craze has swept the world -- and now the ice bucket challenge has reached the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Village.

Athletes, ambassadors and even NanjingLELE, the official mascot of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, have taken up the challenge to generate awareness and raise money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients, reports Xinhua.

The online challenge dares participants to dump a bucket of iced water on their heads and then nominate others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable donation to the ALS Association.

"I did it in one of the first days of arriving in Nanjing and I'm donating the money for research as soon as I return to the United States," Young Ambassador Jess Luscinski said. "I have a few family friends affected by the disease so being in China wasn't going to stop me."

Artistic gymnast Sydney Townsend and diver Molly Carlson, both from Canada, posted videos on Instagram that show them getting drenched in iced water at the Youth Olympic Village. Their team's Young Ambassador, Dillon Richardson, followed in their footsteps, taking up the challenge a few days later.

"A friend who I volunteered with, nominated me all the way from Canada. It's very special to be part of this campaign and raise awareness about the disease around the world through a simple video," he said.

"We cannot forget how important it is for people to donate to the cause to support, research that can help find a cure for ALS. There are many people suffering from this disease."

The athletes in Nanjing are simply the latest to lend support to the campaign that has witnessed participation from George Bush, Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and many more.

World fencing champion 2013, Miles Chamley-Watson of the United States also participated in the campaign in Nanjing between autograph sessions and interviews.

The official mascot of the Games was not to be left behind as volunteers emptied buckets of iced water on the colourful NanjingLELE.

ALS is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to loss of muscle control and, in severe case, total paralysis.

The ALS Association announced Saturday on its website that it had received $62.5 million in donations through the campaign, as compared to $2.4m collected during the same period in 2013.

(Posted on 25-08-2014)

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