Friday, 22 August 2014

Why I think the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is great

 So…I want to talk about the ALS ice bucket challenge something I feel passionately about.  I know you are probably wondering why I am talking about this, yes I know it has been going on for a while now and yes, I am aware that people are getting a little fed up of it but I really have to beg for you to be patience for just a little while longer because I think this is actually very special and here are my reasons why:

1) It is for a good cause.

Okay so this one’s a given.  The ALS Ice bucket challenge exists to raise money for a charity that normally doesn’t get very much and it’s working.  At the time of writing donations to the charity has hit $53.3 million.  To put that into perspective in the same time period last year (July-August) the charity had received $2.2 million in donations.  That is an insane increase and it is all because of the Ice Bucket Challenge.  ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease is a devastating condition.   It is a degenerative motor neuron disease that leads to total paralysis.  The life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from diagnosis which is shocking.  There is currently no cure. 

Before the ice bucket challenge I knew nothing about ALS, I hadn’t even heard of it.  Now I know what it is, I have donated money to the charity and have poured ice water over my head to help raise money and awareness of it.  Anything that can educate people in such a short time and raise money has to be great.

2) It’s fun!!!

I have had a great time watching other people’s challenges.  There have been some great ones, some failed ones (that are also great) and some painful looking ones.  It has also been fun watching some of my favourite celebrities take on the challenge.  Some of my favourites have been Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Victoria Beckham and Luke Evans.  Despite what it might look like taking the challenge is also fun too.  Yes it was cold and my jeans felt like they were super glued on afterwards but I actually quite enjoyed it and laughed a lot.  My friends who filmed and poured also enjoyed it (because they are evil).  In the picture below it might not look like I am having a good time but I assure you I am, that weird look on my face is a smile…ish.

3) It is something everyone can take part in.

I have seen every type of person take this challenge.  Bed bound ALS patients have taken it, movie stars have taken it, my friend a social worker has taken it, police officers have taken it, me a coffee shop worker in the UK has taken it, the ex-president of the United States has taken it.  I could go on and on but my point is that this is accessible and anyone can do it.  You don’t have to be famous and rich, you don’t have to be fit enough to do a fun run or challenge and you don’t have to give up a huge chunk of your time.  It is something we all as a global society can do together.  All you need is a bucket, some ice, a donation (small or large) and something to film it on and you are good to go.

I get that the donation part might be a worry.   I know money is tight right now I myself could only give a little but my mum matched my donations after she saw my video and some of my friends donated too.  Three of the people I nominated took on the challenge and also donated and so have the people they challenged and hopefully the people they challenge will do the same.  You don’t have to give a lot to make an impact.

4) It is social media doing a good.

I actually think this one is important so bear with me if I rant.  I love social media, I am on it a lot (too much).  I blog, tumblr, pin, tweet and Facebook pretty much every day.  I like it, it allows people to communicate on a global scale, it allows freedom of information and informed discussion, it allows people to share their passions and educate themselves and others.  But with the good comes a lot of bad and the bad is mostly all you hear about.  There are trolls intent on bullying, manipulating and belittling others.  There are predators, scammers, hackers, thieves, liars and cheats.  But finally social media is in the news for a good thing.  Simply put there would be no ice bucket challenge if it wasn’t for social media, without twitter, Facebook, YouTube, instagram and whosay this money would have never been raised. I know the Ice Bucket challenge has taken over your feeds, I know it is all anyone ever talks about and I know there are other, important things going on but it is nice to see this medium used for something so very good and positive.

Soon this will all be over and the Ice Bucket Challenge will be a memory.  Hopefully the money raised will go on to make a difference to the research and treatment of ALS and help those with the disease and those who will have it in the future.

Before I go I want to say something to all my fellow internet users.  This is something to be proud of, we did something right and we should hold our heads up high because what we have achieved and the money we have raised has been mind-blowing.  So to the non-famous people, famous people, the people who tried but (sometimes hilariously) failed, the people who watched and donated, the people living with ALS and the people who will go on to do the challenge and donate, well done.  We all did this together and it was an honour to be a part of it.  If you are fed up with this challenge I hope reading this has changed your mind and I hope that you choose to take part in some way, if not well then it will be over soon but hopefully not forgotten.

I cannot begin to imagine what living with ALS is like, it is beyond contemplation for a lot of us.   The video at the bottem of this post should give you some idea and I hope some incentive to take part.  Too find out more about ALS, the ice bucket challenge and to donate please visit:


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