ALS Ice bucket challenge

Chanelle Tourish explains why she is all for dousing herself in freezing water

The Knowledge

Chanelle Tourish explains why she’s all for dousing herself in freezing cold water.

Over the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt seen hundreds of videos of your favourite friends and celebrities pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness and money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a type of motor neurone disease. Just in case you aren’t aware of this craze, it’s where an individual or group is nominated to douse themselves in ice water or donate money to an ALS charity as
a forfeit. However most people seem to be opting for both, just for the fun of it.

With everyone from David Beckham to Virgin Radio Dubai’s Kris Fade taking part, the ALS challenge is officially a global phenomenon. While it may have started in the US with a bunch of (mostly scantily clad) celebrities taking part, it has since spread to us Average Joes of the world, with every Tom, Dick and Harry chucking cold water over themselves.

Sure, it has been fun to watch friends and family back in the UK, standing freezing in temperatures of 14°C, wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. But the real satisfaction is watching the community part of this viral phenomenon unfold. Sports teams, neighbours, children, co-workers, politicians and many an unsavoury teen idol are getting in on the action for one cause. Ok, so it may be a little naïve to think everyone’s intentions are totally selfless (there’s indisputably a number of attention-seekers out there) but the majority are genuine in their efforts.

Of course, any big internet meme brings out a smattering of contrarians, specifically those who say people aren’t actually donating to ALS charities. But this time, they’re wrong.

Since August 27 2014, The ALS Association has received US$100 million in donations – a 3,500 percent increase from the US$2.8 million they raised during the same time period last year. I’m no Albert Einstein, but I’d say that’s an improvement.

Unfortunately, it’s rare that devastating diseases like ALS find themselves in the spotlight. Judging by the now millions upon millions of people who not only know what it is, but are firing across tens and hundreds of dollars in financial support for research, I’d say the ice bucket challenge has been a success.

Charity fun runs, bake sales and other activities are effective ways of raising money but the cold, hard truth is that in today’s social media and selfie-loving age, they don’t have that same global impact. The ice bucket challenge has been able to raise awareness and money in ways we have never been able to do before. For many people the fact that you get to throw ice water on your boss, all in the name of charity, is a bonus. So for all the haters out there who refuse to join in on the fun, put your money where your mouth is.

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