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. I’m sure you’ve 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.
I’ve seen people empty bowls instead of buckets, on their head, I’ve seen people fill garbage cans with the cold stuff, I’ve 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.
It’s all in good fun, and it’s all for a good cause. ALS (or as it’s colloquially called, Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a horrific motor-neuron disease that basically eats away at a person’s 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, that’s 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.
I’m 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 I’m criticizing are the ones who accuse Ice Bucket Challengers as “looking for attention,” and “not knowing what it’s even for,” or assuming it’s 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 Pooh’s Eeyore, or Benjamin from Orwell’s Animal Farm.
The irony of people who doubt the challenge and its motivations is implicit. They obviously haven’t 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 won’t lie – ALS wouldn’t normally be something at the forefront of my mind. But now, with the ice water flowing, it’s something I’m thinking about.
No matter how cynical and doubtful of other people’s 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, they’re exceeding all sorts of expectations.
It can’t be put much more simply than this - good things are happening because of the fad.