The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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From the minute I was told about it, I shrugged and said “this is silly.” Why? I remember when the Harlem Shake started, I was super excited that I jumped at the chance to get one done for the company I was working at. Then other little things started to happen in the ever-changing fad world and they would send little shivers of disgust down my spine. Why? I’ve realised we’ve become sheep to these viral videos, memes, fashion and occupational trends, these over all fads that die out before you have the time to get into them; we just don’t hold on to profound ideas and causes much. And after voicing it out and checking what the challenge was initially and purely about, I started to change my mind.

This challenge has every right to be included in this blog simply for achieving the 4 goals of The Good Human: Inspiration. Positivity. Awareness. Continuity. And I’d like to share my two cents on the pros & cons of this cause that went viral and became a fad.

Pros:

1. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who complained how much she hated this whole challenge and literally said “I didn’t even know what ALS was until these videos came out”. She said it like it was the worst idea in the whole wide world. And I told her “well now you know, and that’s the whole point”. And it is even when we tend to forget. Let’s just say there a far more people who know about ALS this minute than there was just 3 weeks ago. And ALS is one of the most destructive, devastating and deadly diseases of all time and it’s incurable.

2. Because there is no cure yet, foundations, associations, and research centres just like the ALS Association need resources to find the cure. Their resources are mostly tied down to awareness-support and monetary donations and from what they state on their website, they have successfully received $10 million dollars in the last two weeks, 15 times more than what they received last year within the same period.

3. The creative and out-of-the-box aspect of this causes’ success has broken new grounds. The challenge has surely taught and demonstrated, yet again, the power of social media and how to use it to your benefit. The challenge started out as a simple bet and later turned into one of the most successful viral videos of this age. There’s a lesson here, creativity + simplicity + social media = success!

4. We are humans at the end of the day and we are on a constant search for happiness even when we’re the most troubled and negative. There’s so much going on in the world today that sinks your heart and stops you from enjoying your freedom to do all the things that life has given you. But what good does that do to the people who need your strength and your freedom? What I realised from this campaign or challenge was the humour and the lightness that didn’t bring people down, instead it did the most natural thing it could do, infect people with its humour and fun, get them all happy and be part of a fun society, ask them for a little sum of money to help which they will gladly do for what they’ve taken in return.

Cons: 

1. I was against it because I knew that once it reached us here in the UAE, we were going to take it and break it. And maybe before it even left the US, a lot of people broke it. What I mean is, the challenge has a cause, how many people have taken this challenge for all the wrong reasons?

2. Ice = Water and water is scarce in a lot of parts of the world. Therefore, if you’re throwing away a lot of water when other people and living things are dying from the lack of it, then there is a huge gap and it’s a big issue. The ALS Association makes sure to note that we should all be thoughtful about water usage and if we are in an area or country affected by drought, to either repurpose the water for later or simply spread awareness by a bunch of other ways.

3. “What about the children in [insert war-ravaged country]?” Yes, many and I mean MANY of us have done absolutely NOTHING for these poor and desolate souls and yet this new ‘thing’ comes from the US and suddenly we’re all about ‘ALS’ and ‘it’s for a cause’. Doing good and giving and helping should be part of our daily lives. I know a girl who surprises me to a point where I feel ashamed. Little acts of buying water and juices and giving them away to random labourers she sees on the street, to pro-actively involving her entire office every time a donation drive is going on and unfortunately there’ve been many in the last 2 years. And these are just part of her daily little goodness.

 

As a conclusion, can we attempt to start something that is light on the heart but has great effects on people? That has the ability to help people? We don’t need to copy or follow but these campaigns have proven to work. Social media works. How can we include Arab causes, local causes, in campaigns such as these?

I’d like to hear from the community – your thoughts on this challenge, did you take it? Will you? Has it changed anything? Did you make a donation instead? Am I missing more cons? What can we do for our causes?

 

Good wishes to all and visit www.alsa.org for more information and to make your donations.

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