Many of us have had great enjoyment watching our friends, family, and co-workers accept the ice bucket challenge. There’s something innately funny in witnessing that first moment of intense shock as the bitter cold hits the skin. In case you missed it, here’s the video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHLIulPrL0A&list=UUx6WITql2DiAzoYSre1eDDQ.
When my co-worker, Sandra Whitehead, watched my video challenge (after she helped pour the water over my head) she couldn’t stop laughing about my toes. My toes! She said they were curled in anticipation of the cold to come. Really? I’ll remember her come review time!
Seriously though…the Ice Bucket Challenge has done miracles for the number of donors the ALS Association (ALSA) has had this year. According to their website, donations have reached $79.7 million as of August 25, 2014. This is a phenomenal improvement. Last year in the same time span, they raised only $2.5 million. Awareness is increasing, mainly because of a trend on Facebook. ALSA has made giving to a charitable cause fun!
But here’s the sobering reality, there is absolutely nothing fun about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” Currently, there is only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat ALS, which only modestly extends survival by two to three months. Consequently, ALS is 100 percent fatal. In addition to acclimating to the challenges that come with losing control of voluntary muscle movement, people with the disease progressively lose their ability to eat, speak, walk, and eventually breathe. This staggering statement came from the ALSA website. If you haven’t visited their site, please do: www.alsa.org. ALS may be rare, but it is truly devastating.
I’m glad I took the challenge AND donated to ALSA (my daughter and husband did too). Long-term giving wasn’t the goal of this challenge, raising awareness was. Has it succeeded? I’d say heck yeah! Will I donate to ALS again in the future? I’m not sure. I made my donation in addition to other planned charitable contributions. I may wait for another gimmick to grab my attention. Does it matter? Here’s what I think matters. Helping matters. Donating your time, talents, and/or money matters. Gaining awareness of others’ suffering matters. Using that awareness to shape my view of the world and how I live in it matters. I’ve done all of these things by participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
I didn’t intend for my post to be so “heavy,” but with a subject matter like ALS, it’s hard not to travel that path. I’ll end with a bit of levity. I’m eager to see how Bob Mathes (Draper’s AV/Video Sales & Marketing Manager and my boss) decides to respond to my challenge. I think I’ll take lots of pictures…and I’m sure Sandra will be looking at his toes.