By now you might be sick of them; the videos, the challenges, the shrilling screams of the participants.
Yes, I’m talking about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Quite possibly the most successful viral marketing campaign ever, the ALS IBC has raised nearly $80 million (as of August 25) for ALS research. That’s an amazing accomplishment and should be applauded, yet I find it eye-opening to see so much attention paid to a disease that causes .02% of deaths in the US per year*. By comparison, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and even the flu cause significantly more deaths nationally. Still, you can’t get on Facebook or Twitter without seeing someone’s new video of their accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Now, I don’t mean to dump buckets of proverbial rain on the ALSA’s parade, but I happen to be in the “it’s not about the ice water” camp. Yes, I’ve been challenged (twice). No, I haven’t done it, although we have made a donation to the ALSA. Unfortunately, I think the IBC campaign has morphed into a trendy competition – all the cool kids are doing it – that takes the focus away from giving and the disease itself. I’m curious as to how many of the young IBC participants even know who Lou Gehrig was, or that it was because of Gehrig’s passing at such a young age – he was 37 – that Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis became predominately known in households across America.
To me, what it all comes down to is the giving. It doesn’t matter what organization you give to, just give. You don’t have to video anything. You don’t have to publicly challenge others. You don’t have to find yourself shivering at the end of it. Just give.
I can’t say it any better than the incomparable Casey Neistat did in his video for the Ice Bucket Challenge. So to borrow a page from Mr. Neistat’s creative genius, I hope you consider making a contribution to Rock by the Sea or Sav A Pet, if you don’t already have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart. And if you still can’t figure out where you want to make a difference with your donation, you can check out JustGive.org for a listing of charities that may feel right for you.
Doesn’t a warm heart feel better than ice cold water?