The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was the summer’s “Harlem Shake” in 2014 and everybody jumped on the bandwagon. While it certainly generated lots of interests and general awareness about ALS as a disease, it had its fair share of misuse too. So before putting the ice bucket challenge on your roster list for the coming weeks and making a donation, think about what was actually done. However, in case you missed the boat and have yet to figure out what it was all about, let’s take a look at it.
What is it all about?
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a means to drive awareness about the ALS disease and thus invite donations for research for its cure and also to help existing patients with their treatments. It basically asked you to pour a bucket full of ice water on your head for a $10 donation and failing to do so, you would have to pay $100 and upon successful completion, invite another to take the challenge, which they had to comply within 24 hours. With celebrities like LeBron James, Justin Beiber, Bill Clinton, the Hemsworth brother, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc. joining in, you might have found it tempting to join too.
While all of this sounded great and with the ALS Foundation already collecting north of $80 million in donations, there were certain questions that needed asking. All over the world high profile celebrities took part, so is $80 million really that large an amount? While this may seem quite a large amount, just search for all the celebrities that took part and look at the total of their annual income. The next question is whether the research conducted for ALS is feasible and humanitarian or not? There are claims with evidence that animals are facing drug tests with adverse results and stem cells from embryos are being used to achieve success, which puts the whole thing in jeopardy. Further, many doctors have already warned us about the adverse effects of dumping ice and water on your head, which could cause a stroke immediately.
Why I didn’t do it?
Ask yourself, do you need to pour ice and water on your head, share a video, and nominate another to simply make a donation? Further, this was just another way that people found to become popular on social media and count the number of likes and shares. This clearly goes against the very idea of charity and donation. A selfless act turned into yet another publicity stunt. Further, people invented their own versions for their own cause, thus diluting the original purpose. If you feel like donating money, you should just do it, you don’t need a publicity stunt, and this is why the challenge was never on my bucket list.
With the rise in information sharing via social media and people cashing in on the hype generated, I prefer to make a donation just because I want to, not to share a video and gain popularity. While it has certainly raised people’s donations, diluting the cause can quickly make it unattractive and the donations that were gaining momentum will fizzle out.
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