So I am sure by now everyone has heard of and possibly taken part in the ALS ice bucket challenge. It has created quite a lot of attention and lots of different opinions so I thought it would be a good topic to discuss this week.
I first started seeing some shared videos on Facebook of celebrities having buckets of ice water poured over there head. They were also nominating other people to do the same. I had no idea what it was for or what the hashtag ‘ALS’ was about. Gradually I was seeing more and more videos and soon enough people I knew were doing their own.
I then came across a video on Facebook called ‘ALS the real ice bucket challenge’ that someone had shared. Having no idea why everyone was talking about this I clicked on to it. The video was of a man talking about a condition – ALS. He begins by making a bit of joke out of pouring ice water over himself dressed in a bright bikini top and shorts. He then talks about the people in his family that have suffered and are suffering with ALS. He too suffers from the disease. He very honestly talks about caring for someone with the disease and his own fear of ALS. I was so touched by this man’s honesty I decided to read up more about ALS. Below is the link to video I am referring to:
To those of you who are unaware of the disease here is a very brief overview of ALS that I have borrowed from http://www.also.org If you want more information please check the website.
‘Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease,’ is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.’
It is a terrifying disease that leads to an undignified dependant ending. I cannot imagine how hard it is watching a loved one go through the symptoms, let alone facing the disease yourself.
So, now we have covered the important facts I will get to my point. I have seen a lot of positive, indifferent and negative responses to the ice bucket challenge – as expected with anything that begins trending on social media. I have heard a lot of people dismiss the challenge because they disagree with everyone jumping on a trend just to ‘attention seek’ by uploading a video of themselves. I have seen a lot of people wanting to see proof of people donating money to the cause. I have seen people upload videos just to mock others taking part in the challenge and become frustrated that people have missed the point and should be just donating instead of filming themselves. I have even seen comparisons to people in Africa not having enough water whilst people are ‘wasting’ water with the challenge.
On the flip side I have seen a lot of people praise the cause and take part themselves. I have seen a lot of people get involved in learning about ALS. I have seen people try to raise awareness for other charities and foundations that are important to them. I have seen people show compassion towards others.
So which one is right?
This is what I think and before I share this with you I am not saying I am right or wrong, this is just my opinion and I would love to hear all of yours too. I am interested in the reaction that this challenge has caused so the more different opinions there are the better.
I believe that the ice bucket challenge has brought a large number of people together to stand up for something. It has been fun and people have smiled and laughed throughout it, hopefully some of the people affected by ALS have been able to laugh and smile at some of the funny videos too. People have generously donated money towards helping find a cure towards a terrible and frightening disease. Without the ice bucket challenge I would never have known what ALS is and I wouldn’t have opened my heart to want to help anyone suffering or caring for someone suffering from ALS. I wouldn’t have smiled at almost everyone I know getting a big cold shock and looking a little bit silly on a camera. I wouldn’t have felt that little bit of extra pride for my 9-year-old god-daughter standing up for something she wants to change in the world. I wouldn’t have seen extra awareness raised for the struggle to find clean water in parts of Africa. I wouldn’t have heard about some of the other important causes my friends were passionate about. I wouldn’t have felt the extra bit of faith I have been given in the human race.
Anything that raises awareness in the world and brings people together in a happy and positive light has to be doing a small amount of good in the world right? How can that be a bad thing?
What do you think about the ice bucket challenge, is it helping at all?