Like most days, I spent my morning perusing cat videos on Facebook when I noticed someone tagged me in a homemade video. I soon learned I was being challenged to dump a bucket of freezing ice water over my head. I had twenty four hours to comply. Was this the wild west? Like Wyatt Earp, I felt like I was being called out of an old western saloon to face a noon time gun slinging challenge on a dusty road. If I refused would I be considered yellow bellied?
I wasn't about to have someone film me having a bucket of water dumped on my head. I was an attorney. I spoke three languages. I was a well respected member of the community. I had many leather bound books. If I complied would my reputation be tarnished forever. Then again if members of Congress, Martha Stewart, Ethel Kennedy and a host of others could do it, what harm was there.It was for a good cause.
The point of the dare was to raise money and awareness for ALS Research. According to the ALS Association, "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed." In other words, it is a debilitating disease that eats away at a person There is no cure.
Now, I have heard the cynics. "Dumping a bucket of water on your head is not going to cure ALS." "I am sick of these videos" "These people are nuts" They are entitled to their opinions. But I think some people miss the big picture.
Here is why I like the challenge:
1. People are actually talking about ALS.
When is the last time Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was a common topic at dinner tables. My guess is when Lou Gehrig gave his luckiest man in the world speech. These goofy challenges have raised awareness of ALS. Let's be frank, your chances for research grants or catching the ear of politicians are greatly increased when you have an issue the whole nation is talking about.
2. The ice bucket challenge is raising real money.
The ALS Association reports that in the course of a weekend they raised over $ million dollars. Compare that to the same period last year where they raised a little over $20,000 dollars. Not sure where the money is going? Use a website like charity navigator to see where your donated money is going and how much of it actually goes to research.
3. It's a lot better than other viral trends.
Hey, would you rather see a video of some idiot setting himself on fire or punching a stranger in the head or would you rather see kids dumping water on their parents for a good cause. Is it any different than walking for a cure for cancer? I like the fact that people are raising their heads from their smart phones and i Pads in order to have water dumped on them. I enjoy seeing families coming together to support ALS research. In addition to celebrities and politicians dumping water on well coifed hair, I like seeing kids dumping water on their parents for a good cause. I know my staff enjoyed watching water dumped on my head by my law partner. He may have enjoyed it a little too much.
Personally, I took part because of a close relative who has been suffering from a similar disease. As goofy as this trend has been, the end results have been positive. Awareness and money have been raised for ALS research. Just one more thing to add. I challenge you dump a bucket of ice water on your head. You have 24 hours to comply.......