Created by Sarah Coglianese, a person living with ALS, the #whatwouldyougive campaign has raised over $120,000 for research being done at the ALS Therapy Development Institute. While most fundraisers center on a physical activity that requires ability, #whatwouldyougive seeks to inform people about the things ALS takes away. Challengers spend a period of time giving up an ability in an effort to begin to understand what life is like for a person diagnosed with ALS.
The impact of the campaign has been immediate with 75 teams of challengers; 50 who gave up their ability to speak, 22 their ability to use their hands and arms, and 7 the use of their legs. Challenges have varied from only using technology as a means of communication to using wheelchairs on public transportation, but all have the defining characteristic of providing perspective into the daily life of someone battling this disease.
“A person with ALS may need help showering, shaving, getting dressed, eating food, and getting into a car. And there’s no way someone with ALS is navigating flights of stairs inside or outside the house,” said Robert Becker to 7x 7 magazine. He gave up the use of his legs for a day, which included using a wheelchair on San Francisco’s public transportation system. “So before I even started my #whatwouldyougive challenge, I was already skirting around many of the challenges people with ALS face before they ever leave the house.”
The money raised during this campaign serves as a catalyst to accelerate ALS research and drug development at the world’s first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100% on ALS research, with 87 cents of every dollar going directly toward research for a cure.
“We cannot thank Sarah enough for creating this campaign and all those who have joined it. The funds from #whatwouldyougive will be spent expeditiously on research programs that have been identified to have the most promise,” says Steve Perrin, Ph.D., CEO and CSO of the ALS Therapy Development Institute. “The fundraising is hugely important but as important is the powerful impact this campaign is having on people. Challengers have a deeper insight into the lives of ALS patients, and in turn, have a deeper level of commitment when it comes to supporting research necessary to find a cure.”

Thank you to Sarah Coglianese, to the 75 teams who have participated in #whatwouldyougive, and to the hundreds of supporters who have donated to through this campaign. With the support of the ALS community, the ALS Therapy Development Institute is that much closer to a creating a world without ALS.