Cool challenge spreads awareness, raises funds
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014 11:00 am
The Ice Bucket challenge is the newest fad to sweep the web. Iím sure youíve seen it before. It involves a whole lot of gusto, shout-outs to friends and family, and of course, screaming as the inevitable dumps and dunks occur.
Iíve seen people empty bowls instead of buckets, on their head, Iíve seen people fill garbage cans with the cold stuff, Iíve seen a young kid have someone empty the scoop of a front-end loader on him, filled and sloshing at the brims with ice water. In the immortal spirit of one-upmanship, one of my friends dumped and mixed salt into his bucket to add to the challenge.
Itís all in good fun, and itís all for a good cause. ALS (or as itís colloquially called, Lou Gehrigís disease) is a horrific motor-neuron disease that basically eats away at a personís nerves until they lose autonomy and eventually any control over their bodies.
The challenge, of course, asks everyone who participates to donate a sum of money toward research for ALS. One would think the lightning-quick spread of the ice bucket-fad would be met with nothing but enthusiasm and accolades.
Unfortunately, thatís not the case. Like most spreading trends, there is a substantive, misinformed portion of the population who have cynically decided to doubt the motivations of those partaking in the icy fun.
Iím not talking about the people who decline their nominations and abjure the challenge. Most of the people I know who refused to get dumped on usually donated anyway, were aware of what it meant, and respected it.
The people Iím criticizing are the ones who accuse Ice Bucket Challengers as ďlooking for attention,Ē and ďnot knowing what itís even for,Ē or assuming itís just the sheer emptiness of trendiness.
These are people who get their knickers in a knot at the sight of a hashtag and start jumping to conclusions that are reminiscent of Winnie the Poohís Eeyore, or Benjamin from Orwellís Animal Farm.
The irony of people who doubt the challenge and its motivations is implicit. They obviously havenít taken a look at the statistics and the consequences of the spread of such an awesome, viral dissemination of information, all facilitated by the internet and social media.
To date, the challenge has helped raise over $5 million in donations, in Canada, and over $40 million in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of people from North America have been donating, whereas without such a challenge most of them probably would have never batted an eyelash.
I wonít lie Ė ALS wouldnít normally be something at the forefront of my mind. But now, with the ice water flowing, itís something Iím thinking about.
No matter how cynical and doubtful of other peopleís integrity the sticks in the mud want to be, the numbers talk. And although the net totals still leave much to be desired in the way of what they technically can accomplish, theyíre exceeding all sorts of expectations.
It canít be put much more simply than this - good things are happening because of the fad.