On Saturday, I was in Zambia packing to return to Australia while BBC World News was on the television. A panel discussion was occurring and one of the topics, in addition to the situations in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, was the Ice Bucket Challenge for the ALS Association. Seriously? This made BBC World News?
The fact is the entire world is talking about the Ice Bucket Challenge. It has become one of the most successful fundraising drives of our time. The ALS Association has raised over $62.5 million as of 23 August compared with $2.4 million during the same time frame (29 July to 23 August) last year and the numbers continue to add up.
Why is the Ice Bucket Challenge such a huge success? Social media. And, peer pressure. People around the world are being doused with ice water and making a $10 donation to the ALS Association. Should people choose not to be drenched in the ice water, those challenged are making a donation of $100 to ALS Association. In either scenario, parties challenged continue to challenge by nominating work colleagues, family, friends, and even famous people to face the same challenge!
All in the name of research into the debilitating disease known as ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
One reporter on the BBC panel said that this was nothing but an example of “narcissism” and compared it to you and I posting pictures of us with friends while having dinner or on holiday. Another complained about the waste of water. Both of these comparisons are ridiculous, in my opinion. First, diseases such as ALS need our personal support given government cutbacks and arguments that government cannot do everything for everyone. The fact is most government grants for medical research go to the more established research studies rather than cutting-edge research. Regarding the wasted water argument (which was laughed at by the BBC host), the ALS Association has answered the call for not wasting water, particularly in areas where water supplies are running short, by suggesting people simply donate to the ALS Association and pass the challenge on!
In the end, this is an incredibly creative, innovative and successful means to raise awareness and badly needed funds for the ALS Association. Anyone who has ever personally experienced Lou Gehrig’s disease or has lost a loved one to this debilitating thanks everyone who has faced frigid water and ice over the past several weeks. The rest of us applaud you.