By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV Chief CorrespondentBy Joe Shortsleeve

BOSTON (CBS) – In just the last three and a half weeks, the ALS organization has raised a record $53.3. million. That’s compared to $2.2 million raised last year during the same time.

From her desk in Norwood, Lynn Aaronson, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts chapter of the ALS association, watched yet another video of someone taking the ice bucket challenge. And the money, like the ice water, is coming in buckets.

“It has happened in the last three weeks, so I don’t think we have all the answers yet because we are just trying to keep up with the incredible viral media sensation,” Aaronson said.

So what will happen to the 53 million dollars? How will it be spent?

Well, 32 percent will go to public and professional education. Twenty-seven percent or about $14 million will go straight to research. Nineteen percent will be used for patient care.  Fourteen percent will go to more fund raising and 7 percent is needed to pay for administration and salaries.

If you are wondering whether your money will be well spent, the watchdog group Charity Navigator  gives the ALS  association its highest marks,  four stars, when it comes to accountability and transparency.

Dr. Nazem Attassi is an ALS researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I truly believe we are on the cusp of a major discovery in ALS,” Attassi said.

He is convinced every dollar raised does get them one step closer.

“This could be spent on larger lab space or hiring more scientists or more researchers working on the disease. And also we could conduct more clinical trials, testing more therapies for ALS,” Attassi said.


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