I’m sure you all have identical Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds right now. Scrolling through, all you see is videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Whether you support this trend or just wish your friends would stop nominating you, there is no denying that the Ice Bucket Challenge’s ability to raise awareness and funds for ALS is impressive.
If you’ve been hibernating from social media and are unaware of this topic, ALS describes the challenge as the following: “The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.” Thousands of people across the country, including many celebrities, have posted videos of themselves proudly accepting the challenge and also nominating others to do the same.
When I first saw people posting their Ice Bucket Challenge videos on social media, I was confused as to how this was benefiting any ALS charity at all. It seemed pretty clear that most people were opting out of donating by dousing ice cold water on themselves. My initial question was pretty simple, how is this challenge helping people with ALS fight the disease?
My initial skeptism isn’t uncommon, however. The challenge received backlash very early on. Critics debate its method of raising awareness, saying ALS should be presented as something besides a consolation prize.
I’ve become an Ice Bucket supporter and my doubts surrounding its mission and effectiveness have diminished. The support I now have for the Ice Bucket Challenge lies in the numbers. According to the ALS Association, it had received $23 million in three weeks, which is more than 10 times what it received during the same period a year ago. This is more money than the association raised in all of 2012 alone. Additionally, the challenge has added 450,000 new donors to the association’s roster.
These figures show the incredible success of this campaign. It has done wonders to raise awarness for a disease that is often overlooked.
I’ve accepted the challenge and I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already. Yes, you get drenched in freezing cold water, but that sting is nothing compared to the fight people with ALS struggle with every day. If you want to participate in the challenge and donate to an ALS charity as well, even better.
The Ice Bucket Challenge may appear as a silly, overdone social media trend, but this chairatable craze is one that does not deserve negative critiques.
Kellie Flaherty is a senior journalism major and Editor in Chief of The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org