By Dalton Carver
It may be hard to focus on anything but the freezing feeling when an ice-cold bucket of water is poured over you, but social media users should be nominated to remove the attention from themselves and give it back to raising ALS awareness, where it belongs.
According to the ALS Association website, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. As these neurons die, commands from the brain fail to reach the muscles they’re sent to control. As a result, the muscles become less-used, and begin to deteriorate. The disease eventually leads to the victim’s death, as the individual can no longer send messages to move, swallow or breathe.
The disease is without a cure, but not without hope. The ALS organization has created an ongoing awareness campaign that has become popular through the power of social media.
The ice bucket challenge was created to raise awareness for ALS, leading to donations for the cause. Everyone from high school students to celebrities is pouring ice-cold buckets of water on their heads to simulate the action of losing feeling in their muscles and limbs. It’s not anything close to the actual disease, but any cause can be stimulated by the power of the hashtag.
However, many are missing the point of the campaign, using their challenges as like-fodder for social media platforms. Instead of placing the attention on ALS awareness, they claim it for themselves.
There isn’t a requirement for anyone to make a donation. The real issue is that many of those who undertake the challenge use it as a tool to focus attention on themselves instead of ALS awareness.
Instead, ice bucket nominees should clearly state what the challenge is for and seek to learn about the disease and how best they can help to further the process towards a cure. Encouraging others to do the same is much more effective than a simple nomination to douse themselves in cold water for a disease they don’t know much about.
Not that the campaign hasn’t been successful. According to an article from the Time magazine website, the ice bucket challenge had raised more than $31.5 million as of Aug. 20. Six days later, the ALS website reported that the total had jumped to $88.5 million. As of September 2, the campaign was reported to have raised more than $100 million in donations.
Despite this success, refrain from placing the focus of the challenge on yourself. It’s not a video that’s supposed to make you and your friends look hilarious. The intention is to raise awareness for a disease that requires society’s help in order to progress towards a solution or cure.
Just because you get a minor brain freeze when taking the ice bucket challenge, don’t forget the main intention of the campaign.
Dalton Carver is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @Dalty_James.