'Ice Bucket Challenge' fund-raiser passes US$100 million mark

Former US president George W. Bush taking part in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" in a still image taken from video on August 20, 2014. Bush posted video evidence of his soaking - carried out by wife Laura - on Facebook. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Former US president George W. Bush taking part in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" in a still image taken from video on August 20, 2014. Bush posted video evidence of his soaking - carried out by wife Laura - on Facebook. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
McLaren Mercedes team members dump buckets of ice water onto Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain as he takes part in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" after the first practice session at the Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps August 22, 201
McLaren Mercedes team members dump buckets of ice water onto Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain as he takes part in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" after the first practice session at the Belgian F1 Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps August 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Eric Singer, Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer of the band KISS participate in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" at Klipsch Music Centre on August 22, 2014 in Noblesville, Indiana. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Eric Singer, Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer of the band KISS participate in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" at Klipsch Music Centre on August 22, 2014 in Noblesville, Indiana. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva braves the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - or Lou Gehrig's disease - at the Thai Red Cross Society in Bangkok on August 22, 2014.The disease targets the ne
Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva braves the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - or Lou Gehrig's disease - at the Thai Red Cross Society in Bangkok on August 22, 2014.The disease targets the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Men dump buckets of ice water and plastic balls onto former National Basketball Association player Yao Ming as Yao takes part in the fund-raising "Ice Bucket Challenge" in Beijing on August 23, 2014. The viral craze has raised more than US$100 m
Men dump buckets of ice water and plastic balls onto former National Basketball Association player Yao Ming as Yao takes part in the fund-raising "Ice Bucket Challenge" in Beijing on August 23, 2014. The viral craze has raised more than US$100 million (S$125 million) after sweeping the globe since its launch last month, organisers said on Friday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The "Ice Bucket Challenge" viral craze has raised more than US$100 million (S$125 million) after sweeping the globe since its launch last month, organisers said Friday.

The phenomenally popular stunt - which sees participants being doused in a bucket of ice-cold water before challenging others to take part - was set up to raise awareness and cash about Lou Gehrig's disease.

A galaxy of celebrities and high-profile personalities have taken part in the challenge, including Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates and even former US president George W. Bush.

The ALS Association, which combats Lou Gehrig's or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said that between July 29 and Aug 29, US$100.9 million had been raised in donations - compared with US$2.8 million during the same period last year.

"The word gratitude doesn't do enough to express what we are feeling right now," ALS Association president and chief executive Barbara Newhouse said.

"These funds will be used to fund cutting-edge research as well as care and support to people living with the disease."

The success of the viral campaign has been driven by its legion of enthusiastic A-list participants from entertainment, sport, politics and business.

Taylor Swift, Shakira, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Matt Damon, Usain Bolt, Gisele Bundchen, Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg, Neymar, Kate Moss and David and Victoria Beckham are just some of the stars to have taken part to date.