ALS Awareness, Buckets of Ice Water, and You
I’m taking a timeout here to blog about something I’ve seen on social media everywhere…the mass dumping of ice water on people’s heads in the name of ALS. This meme/fad originally started with Pro Golfer Chris Kennedy and his trainer, James Whatmore, when the latter was assigned to complete an ice bucket challenge and pass it on. The idea here was that you had to donate to charity should you fail to complete the challenge within twenty-four hours. This started a revolution that swept the nation, to the point where celebrities and other famous persons became involved. I’ll be honest, this idea is both ingenious and incredibly stupid. Just as a side note, I had originally titled this article as “Freezing your ass off for ALS”, but opted not to for SEO reasons.
First, let’s get the gripes out of the way. As you may have no doubt seen, there are countless videos on YouTube that show people getting both cold and wet to help “raise awareness” for ALS. Call me silly, but throwing a bucket of ice water on your head is not the method I’d choose to solve a problem. When I make an error in my checkbook or pinch too much paprika onto my half-cooked chicken breast, I don’t immediately drench myself and my surroundings in ice-cold water. It would be nice if we could simply dump ice-cold water onto school children so that they can soak up all of World War II and Pythagorean Theorem in five seconds, but it doesn’t work that way. No, friends…knowledge is power. The key to solving a problem lies in doing the research and discovering what remains to be a mystery.
I admittedly haven’t seen EVERY video on YouTube as there are hundreds I’m sure, but none of the ones I’ve seen explain what ALS is or how to donate. I also got the impression that some people are simply doing it for the attention, which isn’t the point of this exercise in the first place. Seriously, how many of you avid supporters of this meme know what ALS is and can you name one person with ALS? I can…Stephen Hawking. 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.” In other words, it’s a disease that affects motor control and muscle movement, leading to paralysis.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention this meme’s positive influence on the awareness aspect of the campaign. Let’s face it…knowledge can be boring IF presented in its raw form. Would you rather have the characterized version of Ben Stein droning on about the mating habits of flies, or would you opt for someone with a bit more energy that encourages you to have fun while you learn? While crude and wasteful, it’s hard to deny the success this meme has had in getting the initials of ALS out there, even if some people don’t even know what it stands for after the fact. It’s also hard to turn a blind eye to the fact that this campaign has raised over a million dollars. I’m assuming the money came from those who had just worked on their hair for three hours and didn’t want it to get it wet.
Jesting aside, I can’t prevent you from wasting all of that water so that you “don’t” have to give to charity. Yeah, it’s kinda strange when you think about it…pouring ice-cold water onto your head so that you don’t have to help others. To be fair, some have opted to do both…that is, accept the challenge AND donate. I myself will not be dumping ice-cold water onto my head any time soon and have instead opted to spread the word through the proverbial pen (in this case, the keyboard). Below are links to various sites to which you can both educate yourself on ALS and donate should you have the money and wish to. For those of you who insist on raising awareness to ALS by dumping ice-cold water on your head…well, perhaps I should take comfort in the fact that you’ll be raising awareness for hypothermia as well. I included links to that too, because I’m awesome…you’re welcome.
ALS Links & Resources:
Hypothermia Links & Resources: