Jarvill: Ice bucket challenge accepted


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It was about a year ago that you could not log onto a social-media site without seeing a video with someone dumping cold water over her or his head. This was called the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis “Ice Bucket Challenge,” and it was a wildly successful.

The idea of the challenge was to film yourself pouring ice-cold water over your head and nominating others to do the same. If you were nominated, then you had to donate to the ALS Association a given amount.

In a society in which the majority of our news is composed of tragic stories or violent crimes, this coming together to raise money for a disease that has no cure is positive, heartwarming, and refreshing.

ALS foundation recently released where its $115 million in U.S. donations from the ice-bucket challenge went. With $77 million going toward research, $23 million going to patient and community services, and $10 million to public and professional education, this awareness-raising tribute helped thrust ALS into the limelight.

The ALS Association reported that it generated more than $220 million internationally through the ice-bucket challenge.

Its $115 million in U.S. contributions tower over the donations in 2013, which was a mere $2.7 million in comparison. This campaign was a major hit and proved to get the word out. Social-media sites were covered with these videos. It annoyed some people, but it also got the word out there about the disease, which was the main purpose.

Because the campaign was such a hit, many wondered why: Was it the peer-pressure effect that the challenge had — perhaps “guilting” people into donating to a disease or looking like a stingy stickler on social media? Was it that the word about ALS was not really out there until this challenge erupted?

I, for one, had known very little about the disease until being nominated to pour that ice-cold water on my head, in turn visiting the website.

Was this challenge effective? Yes. Was it overdone? Yes. Should we care? No.

We shouldn’t care because it helped many people. Furthermore, the ALS Association has invested a significant portion into research that has successfully identified which genes are responsible for 25 percent of all inherited ALS cases. A spike in these revenues will no doubt head the future of finding the source and, ultimately, the cure for this disease in the future.

Our society joined together and helped out a group of people who needed it. This is something that is remarkable, whether you enjoyed the videos or not. The ice-bucket challenge can give you a sense that not all is bad, and if you need help, it is there.

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