What’s up with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Andy Schumann ‘15

In recent weeks, short films of children, teens and adults dumping buckets of frigid cold water over themselves have become increasingly popular. But why? What strange sorcery might lead humankind to performing this inexplicable ritual and then post videos of it online for the entire world to see?

The ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Ice Bucket Challenge was conceptualized to raise awareness for a progressive disease that causes its patients to lose muscle movement, often leading to total paralysis and eventually death over a span of 2-5 years.

“Interesting,” a typically gentlemanly Edsman might say, “but how does the Ice Bucket Challenge itself relate to ALS?” A-ha! Great question, dear reader. You see, the challenge is meant to simulate, for a brief moment, the nervous shock that ALS sufferers experience every second of their lives. Or so some shady internet sites claim. This is factually untrue, as the concept of the Challenge was borrowed from several earlier dumping-water-on-your-head-for-charity fundraisers.

Though it might seem like people are posting videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge for easy likes on Instagram (and maybe they are!), the ALS Association has raised more than $94 million with this viral campaign. Though ALSA has not received money from every single person challenged, even an infinitesimal number of the 85% of Americans that have been witness to the Challenge has brought in big bucks.

For a while, I was skeptical of the amount of good that the Ice Bucket Challenge was doing. I supposed that, while the steadily increasing number of celebrities taking on the Challenge might inspire some rich fellow to donate a wad of cash to ALSA, the videos of my friends and family performing it were of no significance. Most of them didn’t even donate money. Though I was challenged, I did not take on the challenge and still haven’t.  However, many members of the SEHS community did complete this challenge. See some in the links below and comment a link to yours if you so desire.

SEHS Marching band

Dr. O’Linn

Mr. Stepnowsky at Night at the Nest

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