ALS ice bucket challenge raises awareness for worthwhile cause

By: Steven Goodman – Asst. Opinions Editor

If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine, for the last couple months it has been filled with an onslaught of videos featuring those who have undertaken the Ice Bucket Challenge. For those of you who don’t know, this challenge is used to generate awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Basically, if nominated, you have two choices: either dump a bucket filled with ice water on your head or donate $100 to ALS research.

I know there are many people who see this is a funny gag to do with their friends to their friends while raising awareness about a serious disease. But there are also those on the other side, people who find the entire challenge pointless and believe it does nothing to raise awareness about theis disease.

To me, those with the latter viewpoint do not fully understand the impact the Ice Bucket Challenge has had on ALS awareness. Not only has it increased my personal knowledge on the disease (which I knew very little about) but I am sure it has done the same for many people.

One argument that I’ve heard against this challenge is that not everyone is aware of what it is for. Instead people might see it as a funny thing to call out your friends for, but this isn’t the case, at least in the videos I’ve seen.

In nearly every video I’ve seen, the individual calls it the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; which by no means makes it sound generic. Naturally, when you hear the first part of that phrase, you’ll be inclined to find out what it is if you don’t know already. This alone raises the knowledge of ALS across the nation.

Another argument I hear is that the ALS Association is gaining little money in fundraising because the challenge gives the option to dump ice water on yourself or donate. I can give you one reason, actually millions reasons, why that is not true.

According to Forbes, last year during the same period of the Ice Bucket Challenge, July 29 – Aug 29, the ALS Association raised $2.6 million in fundraising. During that period this year, the ALS Association has raised over $100 million dollars. I don’t know about you, but in my book raising $98 million more than the previous year is definitely a success at raising awareness.

Sure the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is something fun to pass on to your friends, but it’s more than that. This challenge has been an incredible success at raising awareness and donations for a serious disease and will hopefully continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

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