If you have been on ANY social media website lately, you have most likely seen friends or family post videos of themselves getting drenched with ice cold water. The challenge was created by the ALS Association, in order to raise awareness and donate to help support those with the disease.
So what is it exactly? ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Basically, those affected have less and less control of their muscle movement over time, and some eventually become completely paralyzed. With no known cure, it’s a pretty deadly disease.
So what’s the deal with the ice water challenge? The unofficial rules are, within 24 hours of being challenged, participants must record a video of themselves getting ice water poured over their head. The participant then may challenge up to three people. Some people say participants are to donate $10 to the ALS Association, and if you do not accept the challenge, you have to donate $100.
So here’s where things get fishy. Is the challenge really supporting the cause or is it just a form of slacktivism? Well, according to the ALS website, between July 29 and Aug. 12, the association has received over $4 million in donations, compared to the $1.12 million during the same period last year. This means that although there are probably thousands of people who participated in the challenge and didn’t donate, the amount of awareness it raised actually did do some good.
To me, the challenge is just another one of those weird trends that storms social media platforms for a few weeks, and eventually fades out and is forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that it has raised awareness on the disease-(I plan on donating), but it gets annoying when I see so many of my friends doing the challenge when I know in the back of my mind they probably don’t even know what they’re doing the challenge for.
I wonder what the next big thing will be? From Livestrong bracelets to the Kony 2012 campaign, it seems these short-lived trends will continue. I think I’m going to create my own challenge. It will be called, “Planking and eating cinnamon and doing the Harlem Shake whilst mowing your lawn challenge,” all to raise awareness for color blindness.