By Danielle Cramberg
Visit any type of social media account and there is a very large chance a video of someone pouring a bucket of ice cold water over themselves and nominating their closest friends to do the same pops up. But, what many people don’t realize (or thoroughly understand) is that it’s in the name of raising awareness and funding for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
According to The ALS Association, ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and the progressive degeneration of the motor neurons eventually leads to paralyzation and death. Obviously this is a very serious disease, so what does that have to do with daring your friends to pour water on their heads?
The Ice Bucket Challenge simulates the sensation of not having full nerve function in your body for those who do not have ALS. Along with the challenge, a donation toward the research for a cure for ALS is made. According to BBC, $2.4 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos were posted on Facebook and 3.7 million on Instagram. This challenge, continuing to gain popularity, leaves the skeptics watching its growth with a weary eye.
Many question the fact that more money hasn’t been raised despite the increasing popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge. From July 29 to August 28 of this year, $98.2 million dollars have been donated– a substantial growth from the $2.7 million raised in the same time period last year. Even so, skeptics question why more money hasn’t been donated considering the caliber of celebrities that participate. With the exception of Charlie Sheen’s dramatic and noble donation of $10,000, most celebrities are already tied up in various other charities and don’t donate as much as they could.
In general, the Ice Bucket Challenge is something of a trend. It’s another reason to post on Instagram or Facebook in a desperate attempt to validate your self worth through numbers of likes. Some people use it as an excuse to have a video of themselves showing off their abs or their new bikini via the internet. Many participants act as sheep, moving in the same general direction of the masses without giving it a second thought as to why they’re doing it, let alone what the significance of it is.
But, the fact of the matter is that it’s absolutely for a good cause. Even if people have no idea why they’re subjecting themselves to freezing cold water for the amusement of others, they’re still free advertising for a noble cause. While not every person who participates donates, that’s still one more video out there that makes someone go, “What’s the Ice Bucket Challenge?”. Every single video that’s posted is another person helping spread the word and get donations and generally spread awareness.
So, while some people pour ice on themselves as one more attempt to get attention, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a great cause that deserves all the attention it’s receiving.