By Liz Dromer (Contributor)
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over social media. Over the last few weeks our newsfeeds on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more have been overflowing with videos of people dropping buckets of freezing water on themselves. The point of all this? To raise awareness and donations for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research.
Most commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a disorder affecting about 30,000 people in America at any given time. ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes 2 deaths per 100,000 people every year. The patients who suffer from ALS progressively lose control of their bodies and become unable to eat, move, and even breath by themselves. This is due to the degeneration of the neurons in charge of motor skills.
So far, the ALS association has raised a hundred million dollars. Last year, the association collected less than a quarter of this year’s donations. People are more aware of the disease than they have ever been. But there are at least three problems related to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: too many people do not donate after doing the challenge, too many people who do the challenge do not know what ALS is, and too many people will only donate to the ALS association this year. Many of us only donate once or twice a year, meaning that other associations will suffer.
Is raising awareness and money towards fighting an illness that people knew almost nothing about a few months ago a good idea? Of course! But the popularity of the ice bucket challenge also has its cons.
If you are going to do the challenge, make sure to educate yourself about the disease and know why you are dumping cold water on yourself. Also, please make a donation, but don’t forget to consider other causes.