The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge… with a twist.

About a week ago (yeah, I know, I know… I was away from home!) I was nominated to participate in the now-ubiquitous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you actually don’t know what that challenge is, it’s basically this: you make a video of yourself getting drenched in ice-filled water, you nominate others to do the same, and you donate to the cause of ALS research.

That’s essentially what it’s known as, at least. Some entirely forget about that last part, and think it’s all about the funny video. In the process for figuring out who I would choose to nominate, I had a conversation with a friend that turned my perspective around. With his permission, here’s some of the chat log:

Me: Hey how would you feel about being nominated for the ice bucket challenge?

Sam: I will decline
Sam: for various reasons, both financial and ethical

Me: Alright fair enough

Sam: Plus, I’m not sure what it’s done for Motor Neurone Disease awareness in the UK
Sam: Like seriously
Sam: Loads of people are aware of ALS but not that it’s motor neurone disease. Based on that, I don’t think it’s raising awareness, just spreading a name and attaching a ‘good cause’ to the new harlem shake/let it go

Me: The fact that I was not aware that it was about motor neurone disease supports your hypothesis

Sam: And that’s why I’m against the ice bucket challenge, even though it’s net worth of good is in the plus

In the process of this conversation, I because just a little ashamed. Truth be told, I didn’t know anything about ALS, despite taking the time to watch several Ice Bucket Challenge videos. The challenge may be raising a great deal of money for ALS research- from July 29 to August 16 they received well over $10 million in comparison with $1.7 Million over the same period last year – but if people like me aren’t actually learning about ALS in the process, there’s more that can be done.

That’s why I decided to do something a little different, and I’d invite those that I nominated to experiment as well. Here it is:

Now, a couple of things. Along with his doubts on how much ALS awareness is actually being raised, my friend raised the very valid concern about wasting water. He brought up Matt Damon’s excellent challenge video, in which he brings attention to this issue and circumvents contributing to the waste – by using toilet water.

My idea of using bathwater stemmed from this, but as my video was one take only, I messed up slightly in my explanation. Saving water in and of itself doesn’t much help the cause of people who go without, and I neglected to mention a cause by name. Thankfully I can rectify that with this article!

20140903_115349Go to alsa.org to learn yourself some more facts about ALS, and go to water.org to learn more about the people around the world in need of clean water. As someone who’s had recent personal experience in trying to raise awareness, I’d particularly suggest taking a look at the Stories page on ALS, to get more of a personal perspective. And, of course, I’ll heartily recommend donating to both causes!

I’m going to go dry off now. Yes, I’m writing this immediately after I recorded that video. I’m pretty cold right now.

-Jesse (@BackBlogGuy)

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