ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—a dangerous way to raise awareness?

Samantha Vick
Staff Writer

Anyone who has been on social media within the past couple of months has probably wondered why their news feed was bombarded with videos of individuals dumping ice water on each other’s heads.

This activity is known as “The Ice Bucket Challenge”. It was started as a challenge to help benefit the ALS association.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Motor neurons, which reach from the brain to the moving parts of the body, progressively degenerate, causing the brain to lose its ability to control movement. Often, it leads to paralysis of the individual.

Although the challenge is not thematically related to the disease, it has become a huge phenomenon.

The rules of the challenge are that within 24 hours of being challenged, the individual must record a video of themselves in continuous footage containing the following:
(1) The participant announcing their acceptance of the challenge
(2) A bucket of ice and water being lifted and poured over the participant’s head
(3) The participant continuing the challenge by calling out other people.

The Ice Bucket Challenge first received great media attention in the United States on June 30, 2014.
Individuals on the television program Morning Drive, which airs weekdays on Golf Channel, televised the new social-media rage, and performed a live, on-air Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Challenge has not only spiked awareness of the disease ALS but has reinvigorated individuals to donate to the foundation.

From July 29 to August 21, more than 739,000 new donors gave $41.8 million in donations—that is more than double the $19.4 million that the association received during the entire year of 2013.
The Association announced that as of August 29, their total donations since July 29 have exceeded $100 million.
Even though this challenge has greatly helped encourage donations to the association, there are some unforeseen risks in accepting the challenge.

There have been many accidents resulting in injury or death due to this challenge.

One teen reportedly died after completing the challenge and jumping into a lake, due to shock.

A Mississippi teen also reportedly died due to an accident involving the ice bucket challenge. She was partaking in the challenge when her cousin, who was holding the bucket of ice water about a dozen feet over her head, dropped the bucket, landing on the girl’s head.

She was sent to the hospital and pronounced dead due to a broken neck.

Although many readers may see these reports as simple hoaxes and do not want to use them as their justifications to participate or opt out of the challenge, one should also take into consideration that donating to the ALS Association and raising awareness is the true purpose of this challenge, not necessarily who can look coolest.

While donating to any charity organization or raising awareness of one could be putting your resources to a good cause, it is not advisable to be one that dies for it.

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