Arguing with Myself: What ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Has Become

Lately, we have seen a lot of people doing the ice bucket challenge. There have been videos of people, celebrities or not, dumping themselves with cold water and “nominating” other people to do the same challenge within twenty-four hours. But what is this challenge really? For what cause? For what purpose?

 The Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge refers to a dare game in which the participant must pour a bucket of ice water over his or her head and nominate any three individuals to perform the same challenge within the next twenty-four hours. If a nominee fails to complete the challenge within time, he or she is expected to donate money to a charitable organization, most notably for research and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The origin of the challenge is quite unknown and has been attributed to different people and even organization.

The Shift to ALS

Despite being a rather old “game,” the ice bucket challenge gained mainstream fame recently as it has been used in a campaign to raise awareness on ALS. I have been made aware about the condition back in 2006 when I read about the life story of Jason Stuart in Awake! However, most people are not aware of this condition, thus, the campaign to raise awareness using the ice bucket challenge. I will not discuss the ALS here, but should you want to know about it, you can read about it here.

The shift to ALS of the ice bucket challenge is to let people experience how having ALS is like. According to some people, pouring cold water on your body allows you to momentarily experience what ALS victims experience—numbing of muscles and chills—however, this is not confirmed as ALS victims suffer more than just that. What is clear, though, is the fact that this challenge was designed to let people know of the disease and call an action to help those who suffer it by urging people to donate to any ALS foundation/organization. Quite a heartwarming intention. But the challenge has become something else.

What It Has Become

The number of people doing this challenge is overwhelming. However, I cannot help myself from feeling indignant to some people who did the challenge. I might seem hypocritical and exaggerating here, but really, how many of those people who did the challenge actually know what this is about? Most of them, most likely, did the challenge because it the current social media trend. How many of them even know what ALS is? How many of these people actually did the challenge because of the original cause/campaign? And how many of these people actually did the challenge because they just wanted to join the bandwagon?

I have seen several videos online of people—celebrities and not—dumping cold water over their heads. It’s actually disheartening that majority of these people did not even take time to mention anything about ALS nor urging other people to donate to any ALS organization/foundation. Most people—local ones who did the challenge—simply poured cold water on themselves and nominated their friends (this is also true to some celebrities). They seem to have forgotten that this current “trend” is to, at least, raise awareness about ALS and, most especially, call an action to help those who suffer the condition.

Sadly, at least for me, this campaign has been hijacked by selfish individuals who wanted to market themselves in some ways. Let’s be real here. How many of you who did the challenge actually thought “Hey, let’s do this to let people know of ALS and urge people to donate,” rather than “Hey, this is going to be cool on my social media and gain likes”? And how many of those of you who did the challenge actually became aware of ALS before doing it? Do you even know what ALS is? Do you even know why this campaign was launched? How many of you there has the intention to donate and/or help ALS victims? I have even come across some videos who mentions “ASL ice bucket challenge”—simple slip of the tongue? I think not. It simply shows how little they care about the cause.

If you are going to do the challenge, at least mention the cause in your video or call an action to help those suffer the condition by urging people to donate, linking an ALS organization to your video, mentioning what ALS is, or whatever you can do to help raise awareness about ALS. Do not just join the bandwagon just because it is the trend. So if you are going to do the ice bucket challenge because it’s the current social media trend and not because you want to raise awareness about ALS or to call an action to help those ALS victims, please don’t.

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