I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t understand the value of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge when I first encountered it on my newsfeed. You get nominated, dump water on your head and if you don’t, you donate all while having someone film you participating in the action.
Shouldn’t we all be donating anyway?
This question has risen in various articles and Facebook statuses over the last few weeks about how dumping ice on your head still doesn’t accomplish curing ALS or prompts people to donate. But is that really the point of the challenge?
Think about it. We have all seen “Facebook Friends” with long, drawn out statuses about life and other situations that we don’t have the time to pay attention or care to converse about. If someone had just mentioned in their status about donating to ALS, most followers probably wouldn’t do the same. Not because they didn’t want to but because they didn’t see the value. I remember the first time I actually learned about ALS and that was during the 2004 Red Sox season when pitcher Curt Schilling had these three letters written on his cleats. From then on, I made an effort to understand exactly what this disease was and how debilitating it can be. I believe the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is doing what Schilling did for me; making people ask, “What is ALS?”
I find it truly refreshing (no pun intended) to see my Facebook newsfeed filled with people dumping water buckets on themselves and declaring that it is in favor of the ALS Association. Even if they aren’t donating in that moment, they are still informing those around them that ALS does exist and that scientific research needs to continue. Maybe that 16 year old cousin will now participate in the ALS walk. How about that college student seeking volunteer experiences. Even the girl that Instagrams all of her new clothes will actually put some of her paycheck towards a donation. Either way, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has proved that social media isn’t always ugly and even for a few moments has educated people to empower those with this disease.