The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media-driven initiative sponsored by the ALS Association to raise awareness and financial support for ALS research. Participants douse themselves in a bucket of ice water and donate money to ALS research before challenging a number of their friends to follow suit. The initiative has been fueled by online videos of high-profile athletes, politicians and celebrities participating in the challenge.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has garnered national attention and raised nearly $100 million dollars in donations in less than a month.
Many pro-life advocates have raised ethical concerns about donating to the ALS Association because the organization has funded embryonic stem cell research, which destroys unborn humans.
There are ways to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that that do not fund embryonic stem cell research according to The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
Embryonic stem cell research is speculative medical research (it has never resulted in clinical treatments) that is predicated on the destruction of embryonic human life. The process uses stem cells harvested from embryos conceived through vitro fertilization (IVF) that have been donated for research purposes rather than being implanted into a woman’s uterus. The embryos are killed during the process of harvesting their cells and then are discarded afterwards.
The ALS Association encourages people taking part in the challenge to “make a donation to an ALS charity of their choice.” Listed below are a few organizations recommended by Christian bioethicist David Prentice that use adult stem cells in ALS research:
The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (MSCTC) at the University of Kansas Medical Center is starting an increasing number of clinical trials and educational efforts.
To donate: Click the “Make a Gift” link in the left column of their web page, it specifies donation for the MSCTC.
At the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Anthony Windebank and his team have one ongoing clinical trial for ALS patients and are ready to initiate a second clinical trial for ALS patients.
To donate: There is a “Give Now” link near the top of web page from Dr. Windebank’s link above; people can specify that their donation go to his ALS research team.
The Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC is a for-profit company developing new methods for growth and application of adult stem cells, and does not support embryonic stem cell research.
To donate: Click “Contact Information” in the right column of the web page and email the Director to learn more about the company’s adult stem cell technology development plans.