The legacy of the ice bucket challenge

The ice bucket challenge took the world by storm this Summer.

As well as raising well over >$100M for MND-related charities worldwide, it has boosted much-needed awareness of how devastating an illness MND can be, and how patients and their families — as well as the researchers working hard to understand the condition — need our help.

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The two-minute video below is a visually beautiful representation of the worldwide spread of the challenge over 30 days, using data from Google Trends:


Closer to home, our Fearless Founder Euan MacDonald and members of the MND Research Centre got fully involved in the challenge. Centre staff Phillipa Rewaj, Denise Cranley and Rebecca Devon set the ball rolling, followed closely by Investigator Prof Richard Ribchester, Individual Giving Officer Kerry Mackay and a whole host of others including University staff and NHS neurologists (who were featured on STV news). In the midst of all of this, our supporters worldwide were bravely throwing cold water over their heads to raise #MND Awareness.

THANK YOU to you all!

icebucketchallenge_Denise_Phillipa_Rebecca_web Euan MacDonald takes the ice bucket challenge
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And look what happened to the number of visits to our website!



“The ice bucket challenge has been a wonderful phenomenon for people affected by MND and and a real boost for research into the disease. Not only has it increased awareness of MND but it’s given an increased sense of optimism to everyone connected. So thanks to everyone who donated and to those who stood under ice buckets. I hope you can see that meaningful things have happened as a result.” Euan MacDonald, Founder of the Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research

So how are we going to spend the money donated?

The Euan MacDonald Centre received approximately £10K in donations as a direct result of the Ice Bucket Challenge.  We decided to hold a competition for two research grants of £5K that was open to all the Centre Investigators. We received many high-quality applications, which were  ranked by three judges.

The successful investigators will each receive £5K to carry out their project, and we will ask them to report back on the outcomes in about 12 months time.

The recipients of the Euan MacDonald Centre Ice Bucket Awards are…


Tom_GillingwaterProfessor Tom Gillingwater

Developing gene therapy treatments for spinal muscular atrophy

Tom and his team will develop methods to deliver UBA1 gene therapy in spinal muscular atrophy, testing whether this is a safe and effective treatment approach that is worthy of further investigation.

Gillingwater Ice Bucket Award Project Summary


Tara Spires-JonesDr Tara Spires-Jones

Synapse degeneration in motor neurone disease

Tara and colleagues will examine brain material donated by people with MND using a high-resolution imaging technique, to test whether loss of connections called synapses correlates with cognitive changes.

Spires-Jones Ice Bucket Project Summary