Week 34: How do you say “Ice Bucket” in French?

Project: Ice Bucket Challenge (In Week 33)

Actual Time Taken: 0 (But I donated!)

This week, the bandwagon was filled with ice.

And, of course, I jumped in.

(Granted, I did it a week ago, therefore I can’t count it for Week 34… we were busy making our move from DC to Montreal, hence the French reference…. but still…)

I don’t think any of us realized the level of furor to which dumping cold water on yourself would reach a few weeks ago. Now there’s been a million takes on the meme…. and are we any better for it?

Not sure. And I’m also not sure it’s a discussion I’m versed well enough in to partake. But I do know that I was asked by a co-worker to help film a challenge for our cast. And being the hard-core team-player that I am (and being the weirdo who loves doing things with her cast) I immediately, and without forethought, said yes.

As most of my major life decisions go, it seems.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 9.23.29 PM

Mid-dump.

I dumped this below-average-temperature water over my head on Saturday, August 16th, so technically in Week 33… but my brothers completed the challenge in Week 34 and challenged me, so I donated money in Week 34.

But this is where the cold waters get a bit muddy.

My older brother Danny completed the challenge (in typical goofy form) and challenged me. I accepted the challenge, but uploaded our video and pointed out the fact that I had already completed the challenge with my cast mates the week before and linked to our video.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 9.23.40 PM

Danny in flippers for the Ice Bucket Challenge. Nerd.

To which he replied that I simply had to do it again.

So, the smart ass I am, I re-nominated him.

And the smart ass he was responded that that wasn’t allowed.

Wait what? Just who is making up these rules?

These rules being that you had a mere 24 hours to either donate $100 to the ALS Association OR have freezing liquid dumped on your head. And apparently if you’re re-challenged, you have to do it again, and again, and again. (Well, at least according to my brother)

My thoughts on this Ice Challenge are this: I think it’s fun. I think it’s a great way to raise awareness of a disease that was barely in the social conversion up until now, not to mention miles away from the Facebook posts of our youth. I’ve heard more and more people around me asking “What is ALS anyway?” … usually shortly before dumping copious amounts of cold liquid over their heads.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 2.04.00 AM

… one bucket of ice at a time.

Yet I’m not sure how effective this particular campaign was at it’s goal. (What WAS it’s goal, anyway? Check out the man who started it and his incredible, inspiring story here.)

Yes, more people are donating, with one source saying that the ALS Association has received $4 million, as opposed to just $1.2 million from the same period last year. And while a lot of people who found themselves cold and wet did donate as well as participate, the overall message of the challenge seemed to be “I would rather dump ice cold water on my head than donate to a good cause.”

There didn’t seem to be much serious discussion about what ALS was, how it affects people, or if the charity in question was effective in it’s overall mission. (Thankfully, according to Charity Navigator, it seems to be)

Some people spun it to help out other charities, and others pointed out the enormous waste of water it was to dump bucket after bucket of clean water over people’s heads, with no one pointing this out more effectively than Matt Damon.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 2.06.34 AM

Spoiler alert.

Bottom line: I personally like that these ‘do good’ trends are coming into fashion. KONY 2012 and the Ice Bucket Challenge are a few examples of this viral campaigning, despite the fact that a lot of people remain uneducated on the subject.

But here’s the thing- the people that blindly dumped water on their heads (guilty as charged) without doing proper research first are of two kinds, in my opinion- either the kind of person who would just record a video or donate to jump in an icy-cold bandwagon and leave it at that, and the kind of person who would record a video or donate and continue to research ALS and find out it’s symptoms, how it affects people, and what the charity is doing for the cause.

The people that wouldn’t research are probably also the type of people that also takes CNN news reports at face value, ingest Hearst newspaper stories without a second thought, and don’t have much of a critical thinking capability in the first place. So they wouldn’t do the research anyway. But at LEAST now ALS is something that they are at least slightly more familiar with and so to me, overall, that has to be a win, even as slight as it is.

So, to assuage any leftover guilt that I may be harboring, here’s some facts on ALS!

– Every day, 15 people are diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease

– ALS is NOT contagious, affects people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds

– ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, meaning that over time, motor cells that connect the brain to muscles die off. As these cells die, motor skills are lost, and eventually lead to paralysis and death.

– The life expectancy of ALS patients after diagnosis is an average of two to five years, although some patients (around 20 percent) have been known to five years or more.

– Currently, there is research into drugs that are extending life expectancy of people living with ALS.

– Currently, there is no cure for ALS.

But what can we do? (Besides dump buckets of water on our heads, of course.)

Got five minutes?

– Educate yourself on ALS. Even skimming the Wikipedia will make you more versed in this disease than most.

– Post some facts on your Facebook. Spread the knowledge. Make it into an inspiring image. Let people know what all the dousing was about in the first place.

Got an hour?

Sign up for a Walk to Defeat ALS. You can walk your way to a cure, and also cash in on the trend of doing all kinds of crazy races.

Volunteer at a local ALS Association chapter. They’re always looking for a few good helpers.

Ready to commit to the cause?

Get creative and start your own fundraiser!  From running a marathon to hosting a bake sale to selling spray painted trash as art- anything to raise a dollar for the cause will help!

Or even better yet, start your own version of the Ice Bucket challenge. I can’t wait to see what’s next- a litter box dump on the head for the Humane Society perhaps?

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