Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What People Care About This Week: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is all the rage right now but I doubt many people who are now doing it know exactly what it is or even what they are even doing the challenge for. Like most things that are the rage, like that Harlem Shake stuff that happened a while back, people see it and want to tape themselves doing it for views, not the cause. I've always known ALS as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Here's a description of what ALS is and how it effects people.

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as 'Lou Gehrig's Disease,' is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.” Source

Sounds pretty fucked up, right? There are quite a few famous people with ALS because otherwise who really cares (I ooze sarcasm)? Some of them are Stephen Hawking, Lou Gehrig, Jon Stone (creator of Sesame Street), and Lead Belly. Of course there are far more. 5,600 people are diagnosed as having it each year which, while high, is not enough to get people to seriously care. 3,000 teens die each year from texting and driving while 300,000 people are injured from it every year yet you're probably doing it and there's no challenges to stop it. This is where famous folk step in!

The second time that night Lohan was shocked by fluids being dumped on her.

Nowadays its hard to give a damn about a cause unless it either has a famous person attached or it can lead to you yourself becoming famous for doing it. How this whole thing works is you dump the ice water on yourself, scream, challenge three other people to do it, donate $100 (or whatever you can), and that's it. We're now at a point where this has jumped the shark and folks need to just donate money. There are fail videos and even ones where its supposed to be sexy.

A+ for great nipples!

I doubt people even know why this was even started. Two years ago a guy named Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS. To raise awareness and money his friend Corey Griffin created this challenge. Griffin recently died from drowning after diving from a wharf. In the week before he died he raised over $100,000 alone. In the last few weeks since this became the thing to do its raised $88.5 million dollars compared to $2.5 million this time last year. Now as to what is being done with all this money...yeah. There's no definitive answer. You don't just throw money at a problem and it goes away. “This isn't a matter of spending these dollars quickly. It's a matter of investing these dollars prudently to achieve maximum impact in our quest to help people living with the disease and those yet to be diagnosed” president and CEO of ALSA Barbara Newhouse said.

And as with most causes there has been those who are against it for various reasons. Some are mad that so much water is being “wasted.” I doubt they could say that to the face of someone suffering from ALS. “Hey, your cause is wasting my water! Stop it!” Seriously. Just picture yourself doing that. I can say ban marathons because they snarl traffic and change my bus routes. But then I'd be an asshole and I pride myself at just being a dick. Others are using this cause to raise awareness of their cause. Some are dumping bullet shells to raise awareness of violence. Matt Damon dumped toilet water on himself because he has good healthcare and doesn't mind doo-doo water on skin and to raise awareness of people who don't have clean water.

Then he rinsed himself off with Voss. 

I say donate if you can/want to but there's no need to make a spectacle of yourself. I make donations to various charities and only once talked about it here. I don't really even mention it to friends because I'm not looking for a pat on the back, fame, or Jesus points. It isn't as if this is the only cause that would like money. There are a shit ton of charities that would love this kind of attention. Or here's a wild idea: give money to a friend or family member in need. Even as I say that I hear people sighing. No one wants to get involved with people on a personal level. Its easier to text and send money than it is to look someone in the eye that needs help and do it. I don't want this to come across as telling people to stop doing this challenge. Just stop being so proud and self righteous about it. Leave that to me.

Click here for previous What People Care About This Week.  

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