The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is currently sweeping social media at such global proportions that an island in Scotland actually ran out of water due to the frenzy [of residents not wanting to be left out] this past weekend. It’s true; the system was so overwhelmed that its emergency auto-shut off valve activated to protect its water supply.
ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. According to ALS Canada, every day, two or three Canadians die of the disease.
While my first reaction to the Ice Bucket Challenge is that most of those posting on social media are doing just that; posting videos of themselves, often scantily clad (ie. bikini shots), without giving much thought to what ALS actually is, nor giving any thought at all to making a donation to the cause. Though, the tally to date, as a direct result of this particular campaign, is said be 80 million dollars. On top of all that, the shameless-narcissistic-half-naked-wet-t-shirt-contest-like-videos aside, ALS is now part of the vocabulary of a great number more than ever before [even though, a certain percentage of those still don’t know what it is].
It is worth noting that not all videos on social media are like this. I have also seen some that are really great, like that of a family in Nestor Falls, Ontario, who have a loved-one diagnosed with ALS. They used a front-end loader to dump a [really big] bucket full of icy lake water over their head AND made a donation to ALS. Further, the water easily filtered back into the environment. I also loved actor Sir Patrick Stewart’s video in which he sits at a desk, ice bucket to one side, writing a cheque on the other. After penning his donation cheque, he pours himself a whiskey on the rocks.
I wondered what I would do if challenged; and, wondered if I would be challenged at all, but in fact did receive one, from my friend, Kiley Hanson. She chose to swim against the current, so to speak, forgoing a waste of precious water, donating not only to ALS, but to another charity as well. Thus, sharing the wealth as a result of this campaign that spread like such wildfire, it shifted the focus off of most other charitable organizations. Thank you, Kiley.
While I am not opposed to dumping ice water on my head, or embarrassing myself by posting a video of it on facebook [those who know me, have seen much more compromising images], I too prefer to wander away from the herd.
I challenge all those who have taken the time to read this to look up the definition of ALS, beyond that which I have summarized above. Find out what it is. And, if you are able to, make a donation, to ALS, and/or another cause that affects you, a loved one, that you feel strong about.
In response to Kiley’s challenge, I have made two donations, one to ALS Canada and one to the MS Society of Canada. [I have a loved one who lives with MS; Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system.]