“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love.
Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
― Mother Teresa
Someone stands in front of a camera, says a few words, and then has a bucket of icy cold water dumped on their head.
I’ll be honest. I hate videos and I resisted watching these for quite a while. Mostly because I couldn’t figure out WHY everyone was suddenly taking an “ice water shower” and posting it on Facebook. When I could no longer resist the temptation (those videos were showing up in my feed at an alarming rate) I watched one – and ended up pretty confused. WHY was everyone dumping water on their head?
I’m all for supporting a worthy cause. My problem? Not a single video I saw mentioned anything about the actual cause – the reason behind the cold water wash. After watching a few videos I turned to Google to figure out what illness was behind this challenge and learned it was ALS, which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In case you don’t know (as I didn’t) Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The disease can quickly progress from slight muscle weakness to full on paralysis without any hope for recovery. It’s an awful disease that strikes people in the prime of their life.
So, I’m really torn on this one. In once sense, I’m all in because money is money – and a disease like this needs all the funding it can get. Heck, I’m even in for silly fun like dumping ice water on your head in the name of charity. And this silly fun challenge has raised BIG BUCKS in the past few weeks. But the lack of actual, legitimate information about ALS/Lou Gehrig’s really rubbed me the wrong way. Instead of emphasis being on the disease – it was focused on the “challenge” – and getting other people to participate. I believe that supporting a charity is a decision that should come from your heart, and this had a weird “peer pressure” vibe to it that turned me off. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Suddenly articles sprouted up all over social media condemning the “ice bucket challenge” as “slacktivism” at its finest.
Then, I went out to dinner with a dear friend of mine – and found out that her brother had died from ALS several years ago. She was extremely touched by the entire “ice bucket challenge” and was really excited that people were raising money and contributing towards a cure for the disease. Talk about perspective! I made a decision to forgo the ice bucket challenge. Then I was educated by a survivor. I now realize supporting a worthwhile cause is NEVER in vain – even if it’s cloaked behind a stunt. In the end, raising funds while increasing awareness is the most important thing.
So – Karen Galvan – I want you to know that while I love you dearly – I will NOT be dumping a bucket of ice water on my head. I will, however, make a donation on behalf of my family in the loving memory of your brother AND I will do what I can to help spread the word about this illness.
Take a few minutes and read about this disease and what you can do to help!