ALS: Do it for the research or the likes?
“I nominate…” have been the beginning words to almost every video watched within the last couple of months. It involves ice, water, a cameraman, and just a hint of dramatic screaming. All these elements combined create what is known as the Ice Bucket Challenge, which began with the intent of raising awareness for ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in a fun way that would get people involved, but at the same time raise money for the cause. As simple and insignificant as it may seem, The New York Times reports this challenge has raised around $41.8 million from July 29 to August 21, which is "more than double the $19.4 million in total contributions the association received during the year that ended Jan. 31, 2013."
Unfortunately, not everyone is a believer of the ice bucket challenge despite the many positive outcomes it has produced. Some people accuse the challenge of taking away from the purpose of raising awareness for the cause, by having people get involved for the popularity on social media.
The main point of people against it, is that the challenge is being done out of self-interest and not for the benefit of helping others. This is a valid point, but whether out of self-interest or not, the main goal of the challenge, which is to the spread the word about ALS, is being achieved. At first it began with a few people looking like they completely lost their mind as they voluntarily poured ice water on themselves during broad daylight. Eventually, it got to a point where anytime someone logged into Facebook the first post (or first seven), were Ice Bucket Challenge videos.
Due to its wide spread visibility on the internet, this challenge has expanded to celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and even Oprah. The involvement of celebrities has certainly helped spread the challenge even further and made people understand the immense degree of participation in this movement.
Those who are still critical should reconsider; reservations about seeking attention on social media should take the backseat to increased awareness. Since it is so easy to carry out and access to the materials needed is within reach, this challenge has become one of the most well-known activities of the moment and is posted all over the internet.
ALS is a disease that leads to loss in muscle function in the body and deserves recognition for those battling with it or those who know of people who have passed away due to the disease. So don’t let opportunities like this slide past; if you have the opportunity to make an impact and it is within your reach to make a difference in your community, do it! Take time to donate money to the ALS organization, or go get those bags of ice and nominate the next lucky three people to keep spreading the word about ALS. I nominate you!
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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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