North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Have you taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Pam Stevens

 


Just what exactly does having a huge bucket of ice water dumped on your have to do with ALS?

Well, obviously a lot!

Millions of people (over 2.4 million) from celebrities to young children, have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge in an effort to bring awareness, and hopefully funds, to ALS, or as many people know it, Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Basically, you dump a bucket of ice cold water over your head and nominate three people to do the same within 24 hours or they need to donate $100 to ALS Association.

Most, however, donate the money as well as dumping the freezing cold water on themselves.

Between July 29 and August 25, over $79.7 million in donations have been made to the ALS Association. Last year at this time, only $2.5 million was donated. Over 1.7 million people were first time donors, according to Forbes Magazine.

Because so many of those taking part in the challenge post their videos to Facebook or Instagram, critics call the whole thing narcissistic, just another reason for people to take selfies and upload them to social media.

Even if this were true, which I am sure it is in some cases, who cares? If taking a two minute video of yourself and putting on social media brings this much attention to an extremely debilitating disease and also money for researching a cure, I say go for it! Really it is quite genius if you ask me.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Ice Bucket Challenge, “got its start among golfers as a way to support pet charities.”

“The rapid pace of donations has stunned ALS groups who are used to relying on a very close-knit group of donors, most often the friends and family of the 20,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S. with the disease,” an article in the Wall Street Journal stated.

ALS, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells to break down and die. There is no treatment or cure.

"It's very difficult to fundraise because most people have never heard of ALS and it's a very complex disease to discuss and explain," said Lance Slaughter, head of fundraising for the ALS Association told the Wall Street Journal. "We don't have survivors of this disease."

The rampant spread of the Ice Bucket Challenge videos has had an incredible effect on awareness of the disease, which Steven Hawking suffers from.

If this creative fundraiser can continue to bring in the millions of dollars needed to hopefully find a cure someday and also helps make us aware of this crippling and debilitating disease, I hope I get to watch hundreds more Ice Bucket Challenges. Bring ‘em on!

If you would like to donate to ALS visit http://www.alsa.org/donate.

 

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