Monday, August 18, 2014

ALS Ice Water Bucket Challenge

Before I begin this lengthy discussion, I want to present some hard facts (as of this posting) regarding the donations that ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). This is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells within the body, particularly the brain and spinal cord.

As ALS progresses the ability for the brain to initiate motor functions becomes more and more difficult, and eventually can lead a person with the disease to become paralyzed and forever have to live via a ventilator.

For a complete understanding of the disease, please see the ALS main page located here:
What is ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)?

There exists some experimental drugs, which do hold promise of potentially working. But as of now, they only slow the onset of the disease and extend the life of the patient by 2-3 months. There is no cure and is 100 percent fatal.

Now, let's talk about the ALS Ice Water Bucket Challenge (#IceBucketChallenge #StrikeOutALS). First, here is what the challenge is: What is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Here's some facts:

  • Last year between July 29th and August 14th, the ALS Association, along with its 38 chapters received $1.4 million dollars in donations.
  • This year, during the same about of time, they have raised an astonishing $7.6 million dollars in donations! And it's largely due to the social media campaign, that went viral across the internet, to bring awareness of the disease and what it is about. They have gained over 70,000 new donors over this period of time to help the cause.
Furthermore, and what may come as a shock, this campaign did not start out as a fundraiser by the ALS association. The Ice Bucket Challenge actually started late last year, and was used by golfers to help bring awareness to other charities, particularly those involving animals.

But, the viral campaign started when golfer Greg Norman challenge the "Today" host Matt Lauer to take part. He accepted and did it on live TV. 

But, it really caught on after Pete Frates, who has ALS and can no longer talk, move his arms, or even his legs, attempted the challenge. All he could do was bob his head to Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" and afterwards nominated his friends. The courage he showed by not being ashamed or doing it for pity from other, but out of his own heart for others like him, is one of the bravest acts I've ever seen accomplished.

This challenge does not have to be for ALS, it can be for any charity. The only reason it caught on so quickly for donations to ALS is a mystery and quickly became viral over social media. 

It's brought light to a great cause and goes to show that people can band together and accomplish incredible feats to help one another.

Those of you saying it's a scam, or a waste of time, or even a waste of water, you should be ashamed of yourself. 

You are part of the problem. You live vicariously without thinking of the well being of others. You have no sympathy for you turn a blind eye to what is happening. You have the belief that if it doesn't affect you, then why should you care.

You should care because you are a human being. You have a shot at changing the world to be a better place, and I'm not just talking about ALS. I'm referring to participating in any charities to help others in need.

And yes, I took the challenge:

And since I nominated six people, I donated $60 to the ALS Association!

Those of you I described above, please exit the human populace. Oh, and one more thing, leave the oxygen you are breathing here with those of us with a heart. It's wasted on you.