I’m sure everyone has been watching Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites blow up with videos of people dousing themselves in ice water. It’s for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
First of all, what is ALS? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Approximately 5,600 people are diagnosed with ALS each year. The life expectancy of a patient with ALS averages about 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.
If you want to find out how the Ice Bucket Challenge began, click here
According to the ALS Association, they received over $4 million in donations from July 29th to August 12th due to the Ice Bucket Challenge.
However, despite the positive outcome this viral sensation has given, I have read articles and come across some people that don’t understand it or have even said it was “stupid”.
ALS was something that I knew about, but didn’t really pay attention to. And that’s the case with most charities. Celebrities or people with lots of money know about charities and they donate. But most of the time, regular people just go about their days and don’t think about that type of stuff.
Being that we are in a digital age and where EVERYTHING goes viral, it makes complete and total sense to start something like the Ice Bucket Challenge to get normal people like you and I to participate and become aware. Especially when it’s something like this: Ice and water…harmless, costs nothing.
And speaking of costs, many people have complained and said remarks along the lines of “oh they are doing it, but not donating”.
So what! Now I’m no math wiz, but I’m sure for every 10 people that do it, 1 or 2 of those people will donate. Also, in my opinion, people just like to feel like they are a part of something. This challenge is allowing us all, people across the country, people with or without money, celebrities and people who aren’t celebrities, to have the same involvement in one particular thing. Now isn’t that special?
Even if you do not donate, spreading awareness is just as important. It allows people to learn about the disease, which in some cases may help a person become aware of symptoms or signs and gets them to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
If you do donate, AWESOME!
As someone who suffers from an incurable disease, sometimes your only hope is awareness and donation. By donating, you are giving these organizations and foundations funds to help find a cure or to help create better treatment options. But it doesn’t stop there. Funds also help to pay the amazing people such as doctors and researchers who work day-to-day to find cures and treatments. In addition, it helps fund fundraisers and other awareness events and in some cases, even support groups for the patients and their caregivers.
Also, spreading awareness and donating makes that person who is feeling helpless and hopeless and alone because they have a disease feel cared for and loved.
In conclusion, I believe that the Ice Bucket Challenge was a wonderful idea. Not only for the awareness and the donations, but for the unlucky people who deal with this or other diseases on a daily basis. By doing this simple act, you may just be improving someone’s quality of life.