I'm sure you've all heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you haven't, then you don't have Facebook, Internet, or TV...in which case I'm not sure how you're reading this right now. But, just in case you do have those things and have still, somehow, managed to allude this phenomenon then I'll give you a quick explanation.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a social media campaign to raise awareness for the disease ALS. It requires the nominated person recording themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head, challenging three new people to do the challenge, and then paying a $10 donation to the ALS foundation, or pay $100 for not doing the challenge. Either way, it helps raise money and awareness for a great cause.
ALS is a horrible disease, and one I knew little about before seeing the challenge start to grow. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. As the disease progresses, those diagnosed start to lose the ability to control their muscles, and in the later stages are often confined to a wheel chair, are unable to speak, and can not swallow. There is no cure for ALS.
What I also found out, once the challenge started to grow in fame, was that my daughter's aunt has the disease. This was new information to me, because I've only had contact with Payton's aunt for a few weeks. She is a great woman, and thankfully is still in the early stages of the disease. She can still walk and talk, and even though she has ALS, she doesn't let it slow her down one bit. But, once I found out, I knew I had to do my part for this cause.
In fact, I am going one step further. I did the challenge, yet I'm still going to donate $100 to the organization. Because I didn't do the challenge to get out of paying more, I did it because I never pass up a good challenge, and I want to be someone that is raising awareness as well as donating to the charity.
I have never seen a charity challenge blow up like this one has. Athletes, movie stars, singers, and even past Presidents have taken part in the challenge and posted their videos online. The challenge has swept through the country, and even the world, and the last I heard has raised over $20 million since the challenge got started just a few months ago.
I know that there are people out there that are sick and tired of seeing the videos pop up on their newsfeed of people doing the challenge. I've read statuses of people complaining about the videos, and saying that people are only doing it for attention and that there's no real benefit from posting a stupid video on Facebook of ice water being dumped on their head.
To those people I say, really? I'd say $20 million is a HUGE benefit. And of course we're doing it for attention. That's the whole point. So other people learn more about ALS, the cause, the disease, and how to help build support to put more money in to finding a cure.
It's amazing how many people have told me that they really knew nothing about ALS before the challenge got started. I was one of them. But, there are countless more people that have told me the same thing. That means that awareness is definitely getting raised.
There are people complaining that the foundation won't use all of that money for research, and that it'll go in to the pockets of the corporations founders and board members. I don't know if that's true or not, but I do know that with the amount of extremely wealthy people (Bill Gates, President Bush, and Mark Zuckerburg to just name a couple) donating to the cause, I doubt they would sit idly by and watch their donations go in to the pockets of people working for the cause. That's my opinion. I know people will argue with me, but this isn't just one of those fundraisers that requires spare change being put in to a jar. Several famous people have donated THOUSANDS of dollars as a part of this campaign. I'm positive that those people are going to want to know what their money is being used for.
But despite all that, even if it's just "annoying" to see all the videos, can't we have a little compassion? For once, our newsfeeds are full of quick videos raising money for a good cause, versus the pictures, videos, and status messages about the President, corporations taking away rights, gun control arguments, or cat videos. For a few weeks, people have joined together for a great cause rather than fighting over whatever the hot topic of debate currently is for the week. I can open up my newsfeed and feel a lump in my throat as people with ALS share their stories and give their thanks for what the nation is doing for them. I can watch celebrities take part in a cause that normal people are doing, instead of hearing about their latest DUI arrest, or drug charge, or how many bazillion dollars they're making for their next movie role. I look at these videos as a refreshing break from the normal, depressing news that I normally see and hear.
But, I have also learned that no matter what the latest craze is - good or bad - there are going to be people that complain. It's just who they are. Nothing makes them happy. I often wonder if the only reason these people have a Facebook account is so that they can complain about everything. They hate seeing all these "stupid videos" yet, they somehow feel that all their friends and followers are far more interested in hearing about what they ate for dinner the night before, how they're tired of the girl at work that plays her music too loud, or what time they are going to bed. That stuff is WAY more interesting.
One thing I've learned to do with my Facebook, that apparently others have yet to discover, is the fact that I can control what videos I choose to watch. If I don't want to watch a certain video, I just keep scrolling through my feed. I've turned off the new setting that allows videos to start playing instantly when I get to them, and I actually have to click on the video in order to watch it. And, if I don't want to watch it.. I don't. So simple. Maybe I could make a video explaining how to do this, so that all those whiners and complainers out there would be free from the "stupid videos" that they HAVE to watch.
I just wish there was the same setting to turn off all the negative comments and complainers. That is something Facebook needs to be working on. I can always unfriend those people, I know, but I feel like it's harsh to delete Aunt Betty from my newsfeed just because she complains too much about videos people are posting... then how would I hear about the grocery shopping excursion she took last weekend?
Oh well. Like I hear all the time.. "Haters are gonna hate". It's just who they are, and I guess I feel sorry for those people. If they have nothing better to do than spend their lives complaining about 30 second videos that are raising money for a charity, then they must have pretty boring, sad lives.
But, never fear Haters of Facebook, once the challenge loses steam, you can go back to the constant feed of bad news, sad news, and downright boring news. Just hang in there. Don't give up hope that the good will start to fade away soon....once every other person in the world that has jumped on the bandwagon of taking part in a great cause has posted their video.
Until then, I'll enjoy watching the videos and feeling good about such an enormous outpouring of support - and knowing that I did my part. Not just me, but my three kids also took the challenge and nominated people to do it, too. They loved it, and I'm happy that I'm raising three kids who are so willing to take part in something like that. They know why they did it, I didn't just tell them to dump ice-water over their heads. They probably would have still done it... but knowing why is the important part.
If you have taken part in this amazing challenge, I say THANK YOU. Good for you. That's awesome. If you're someone that thinks it's stupid, and will have absolutely no part in such a stupid cause.. I say, you're entitled to your opinion, and I'll respect it. But, respect my opinion of wanting to take part without complaining about it. OK?