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Friday, August 22, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge, Good or Bad for ALS?

What is the craze of the ice bucket challenge? 

This is a question we were asked just this morning. We wanted to know why someone would ask that, as we assumed everyone knew. Apparently everyone doesn't know and we wanted to know why. So we spent nearly six hours today researching it. 

For those that don't know what ALS or the Ice Bucket Challenge is, here are the definitions:
Source: (Wikipedia)

ALS - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also referred to as motor neurone disease (MND), Charcot disease, and, in the United States, Lou Gehrig's disease—is a neurodegenerative disease with various causes. It is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, difficulty in speaking (dysarthria), swallowing (dysphagia), and breathing (dyspnea). ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases

Ice Bucket Challenge - Sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head or donating to ALS research. It went viral throughout social media during mid 2014. - The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation. 

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been instrumental in raising awareness for ALS, but has that awareness been forgotten? 

Not completely, but yes it is. 

We viewed 75 videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Out of those 75 only 12 actually mentioned why they were doing it. The ones that did mention that it was to raise awareness of ALS were mostly celebrities. The majority of people we watched just did the challenge then challenged their friends. No explanation as to why they were doing it.

When we were first approached about doing the challenge it was clearly stated what it was for and either do it or donate. Even stated what charity to donate to had the challenge not been accepted. A clear understanding of raising awareness and money. Not enough people are being educated as to what ALS is and what the challenge stands for. Even with the challenge going viral through Social Media.

It's not mostly that people are not saying why they are doing the challenge, but in the fact that it is no longer helping raise money. Raising money is the biggest motivating factor of the challenge in the first place. That why we believe the Ice Bucket Challenge is no longer helping. 

For those of us that live along the Gulf Coast and are New Orleans Saints fans, ALS has been something we have been aware of for years, even before the Ice Bucket Challenge. Our beloved Steve Gleason, a hero in the eyes of fans, was diagnosed with ALS and has his own foundation, Team Gleason, in raising awareness and fundraising for research efforts. 

We know not every city has a celebrity that helps generate a "buzz" so to speak around ALS, but every city should have a spokesperson. Had it not been for Team Gleason the majority of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast may not be aware of ALS

Raising awareness about anything in a fun way that spreads the word is great. To whomever started the Ice Bucket Challenge, we commend you for it. However we need to find a way to make sure everyone is educated as to why the ice bucket challenge is being done and how they can donate. 

Perhaps that should be the next challenge? Video yourself giving money to an ALS Charity of your choice. 

Want to donate and do your part in the fight against ALS? Here are just a few links to some of the biggest named charities: (you can also Goolge ALS Charities in your City)

Team Gleasonhttp://www.teamgleason.org

ALS Association - http://www.alsa.org

ALS Hope Foundation - https://www.alshopefoundation.org

ALS Raising Hope Foundationhttp://alsraisinghope.org

Blazeman Foundation for ALShttp://www.waronals.com

ALS Foundation For Lifehttp://www.alsfoundation.org

ALS Family Charitable Foundationhttp://www.alsfamily.org

We hope you have found this helpful and will help spread the word. People need to know the proper information as to why they are doing something that has such a worthwhile cause behind it. If you take the challenge say why you are doing it, what it helps, and even mention an ALS Charity of your liking.   

Be on the look out for a follow-up article on this in a week or so and see if the next 75 videos we watch will have a higher number of people stating why they are doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Who knows maybe we will even find a few that videoed themselves donating money.

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