Fun and games can pay off in seriously good ways sometimes. The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, which was launched two years ago and went viral with celebrities all over the world participating, has been key in identifying a gene that could be the cause of ALS Syndrome – a debilitating neuro-degenerative disease, whose most famous sufferer is physicist Stephen Hawking.

The challenge was a tool in fundraising for ALS research; it asked people to pour a bucket of ice-cold water over themselves and post photos/videos on social media.

Millions of people rose to the challenge, many of them instantly recognizable faces like Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and even former US President George W. Bush.

According to the ALS Association based in Washington, the challenge raised a staggering $220 million from across the world. The funds were used to conduct the largest and most comprehensive study on the disease, which helped in the medical breakthrough.

The news of the discovery of NEK1, the gene contributing to the disease, put the Ice Bucket Challenge in the limelight once again, with participants and viewers both feeling jubilant. The topic was a top-trending one on Twitter yesterday, generating comments about how it’s possible to change the world if people decide to join hands for a good cause.