MORE and more local celebrities are participating in the "Ice Bucket Challenge" aimed at raising awareness on and research funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a killer disease that attacks nerve cells.

Stage actress and "The Voice" coach Lea Salonga is one of the first few who accepted the challenge.

Salonga said the cause is close to her family's heart as the uncle of her husband, Robert Chien, died from ALS.

"It is out of love for him that we are both doing this," she said.

The "Miss Saigon" star then nominated "Glee" star Darren Criss, actor Aga Muhlach and other "The Voice" coaches Bamboo Mañalac, and Pop Princess Sarah Geronimo.

Both Muhlach and accepted the challenge, donated money and uploaded their own videos online.

Muhlach, who was drenched in ice cold water by son Andres, nominated fellow actor Richard Gomez, artist Ronald Ventura, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and wife Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach.

Apl, on the other hand, challenged Latino singing superstar Enrique Iglesias, world boxing champion and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao, "Black Eyed Peas" band mate Fergie, Bruno Mars and the rest of his Apl crew.

Newly engaged couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera did the challenge together.

On his Instagram post, Dingdong nominated Senator Bam Aquino, actors Rodjun Cruz, Ana Feleo, Roxanne Barcelo and "Eat Bulaga" host Vic Sotto.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

In the United States alone, approximately 5,600 people are diagnosed with this condition each year. The ALS Association said people with ALS die two to five years after diagnosis.

Big Hollywood names who participated in this cause include Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba, Jason Sudeikis, Olivia Wilde, Neil Patrick Harris, Bradley Cooper, Josh Hutcherson, Kevin Bacon, Adam Sandler, Emma Stone, Jamie King, Chris Evans, Will Smith, Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., and Tom Hanks.

Power couples Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, and Victoria and David Beckham also doused themselves for the cause.

An Associated Press report late last week said the charity stunt has already raised nearly $42 million, a huge jump from $2.1 million between July 29 and August 21 last year. (Sunnex)