“It's been a giant surprise,” DGM national director Horst Ganter told The Local. “No one would have counted on such a success.”
“We are connected with the American muscle disease association, but what works in the USA doesn't, unfortunately, always work in Germany.”
A week ago donations had already reached the milestone of €200,000.
But a surge in interest ramped up the rate of donations to the charity, bringing it close to three-quarters of a million euros in contributions in just a few weeks.
The DGM has had staff working extra shifts since the beginning of the craze to accommodate the deluge of donations, and has had to upgrade its IT to deal with the influx.
“The money all goes to ALS, for research, we're setting some research projects in motion using the money, and it's also used to give support and advice to those affected by the illness,” Ganter said.
“Some people have given donations with other specific purposes, there were people who did the challenge and said they wanted to support other muscle illnesses.”
The organisation has plans to capitalise on the success of the appeal for the previously obscure muscle disease.
“We'll have existed as an organization for 50 years next year,” Ganter said. “We're always interested in growing, and of course we'll try and use this to support that.”