I figured I’d take a little break from the constant posts about school starting to talk about something different! Recently, I’m sure all of you have heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge-maybe you’ve even been nominated by one of the hundreds of videos you’ve seen scrolling on your Facebook newsfeed. I was lucky enough to be nominated three times and completed the task yesterday with some of my coworkers.
With the fame of this stunt, there has also been a lot of controversy. I’ve seen articles floating around that “dumping a bucket of ice water on your head isn’t going to solve anything” and that people should just be donating money to the cause without any kind of nomination or ‘popularity’ stunt.
While I have no fame to my name and am only an unaccredited college student, I figured I’d throw my opinion out there…
Let’s start with the basics: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gerhig’s Disease) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Personally, as a psychology and pre-Physical Therapy student this interests me a lot. The disease impairs the brain from controlling muscle movements and can lead to paralysis. There is no cure for ALS and unfortunately will lead to the patient’s death. If you want to read more about the disease check out this link: http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html.
Before the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, some people had heard of ALS and others hadn’t. Now, I’d be surprised to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of these three letters. While the critics of the challenge are correct in saying pouring a bucket of ice water over your head doesn’t cure the disease, I think they’re missing the point. The goal of this challenge is to raise money but it’s also to raise awareness. I’m sure many of you have heard before that before you sign something you should read it to see what you’re signing. Well the same goes for things like the ice bucket challenge-before you do it you should look into what the disease actually is and where your money is going. The symbolism behind the ice seems to have gone over some people’s heads; individuals who have ALS are literally “frozen” in their own bodies (i.e. the ice). They cannot control their movements so they are much slower and as mentioned before can become paralyzed. The choice to throw ice over your head and not jump over a fire or something silly was not a random one. No, we don’t understand what people with ALS experience and no, dumping an ice bucket over my head doesn’t give them a cure, but it shows empathy and a step in the right direction to understanding and helping.
And for those that are still skeptical the ALS Association directly stated that “since July 29 [two weeks ago], The Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause” (http://www.alsa.org/news/archive/als-ice-bucket-challenge.html). Hundreds of celebrities, sports teams, politicians and every day people have participated and donated to the cause and I think it’s working.
If you’re nominated, have fun! If you haven’t been nominated, I encourage you to look into the cause and nominate yourself 🙂