By Kylie Stamper
You’ve probably seen it at least 300 times on your Facebook news feed or you have heard people talking about having to do it. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been dominating social media for a little over a month. In the time between July 29 and Aug. 29, those people pouring buckets of ice water on their heads helped raise over $100 million in donations for the ALS Association. As of Sept. 4, the donations were up to $108 million. This time last year, only $2.8 million was donated during the month. According to statistics from 2013 on alsa.org, approximately 79 percent of these donations to ALSA go towards research, education, and services for patients and the community.
I made it to the end of August before I was nominated by my younger sister. So of course, I had to dump freezing water on my head. Most versions of the challenge required that nominees, if they chose to participate, pour a bucket of ice water over their head within 24 hours of being nominated and donate $10 or $100 if the participant opted out.
By now you’ve most likely memorized the lines that people say in their videos. “I was nominated by so-and-so to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and I nominate this person, this person, and this person.” Then the video is posted to Facebook and the nominees are tagged. The concept spread like wildfire and soon you see about 30 other ice bucket challenge videos before the end of the day.
Alsa.org, the website with the main purpose of ALS awareness, says “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that modestly extends survival.”
Even after knowing that over $100 million has been raised for research and education by doing something different, some still resent the ice bucket challenge. Some say it is a cry for attention while others are dead-set specifically on raising awareness. Some love it, and others are just plain tired of seeing all the videos.
Before this challenge started, the only thing I knew about ALS was that it was a disease. I knew nothing about it or what it does to people. Now that I have participated in the challenge and had a reason to think about it, I understand what it is and I am glad I was able to be a part of the momentum behind the movement.
Now, I nominate anybody who has not yet had the opportunity to participate. Grab a bucket of ice-cold water, recruit a few friends, and have some fun.
Kylie Stamper is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org