What’s cooler than being cool? Ice (Bucket) Cold.
They have all participated in what is quickly proving to be the greatest social media case study… ever.
It’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. A fundraising challenge designed to do two simple things: 1.) Raise awareness for ALS and 2.) Raise money for ALS research.
The challenge itself is quite simple. Chris Kennedy, the man credited with dumping the first bucket, meant for it to be. Dump a bucket of ice water on your head. Call out three friends to do the same in 24 hours. If they don’t do it, they have to donate $100 to ALS.
Oh, and they should really, really, really think about posting it to their social media channels. Which many people have done. So many that some have criticized this campaign as being too self-serving and taking the focus off of ALS and putting it on themselves.
Is this true? Of course it is. It’s a challenge that is all about you, doing something silly, and then tagging your friends. And then you get to blast it out on your social channels. Some people have used it as an excuse to put on a bikini and shoot a video. Some people have used it a chance to bring their kids, their friends, their dogs into the video. Some people have used it a chance to get crazy and creative. Some people don’t know how to work a bucket.
But just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s bad. As Dr. Robert Pascuzzi, the medical director of Indiana University Health’s ALS clinic (and who took the challenge himself, with his patients dumping the ice water), said – “The bottom line is to do something positive for this very challenging disease.”
Positive is an understatement. According to Darren Rovell, business reporter for ESPN: “In the last 23 days, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have raised $31.5 million from people inspired to donate thanks to the ice bucket challenge. How significant is that? The total money raised by the national organization and its satellite charities last year was $64 million.”
As impressive a number as $31.5M is, there are some more important numbers we should all know about ALS, regardless if we pick up an ice bucket or not.
Zero. Zero cures.
5,600. 5,600 people in the U.S. diagnosed, each year.
20. 20% of people diagnosed who live five years or more.
5. 5% of people diagnosed who will live 20 years.
125. 125 scientists working on the cure—every day.
Because of the Ice Bucket Challenge, I know a little more about ALS today than I did yesterday. And I have the chance to help do some good by simply dumping water on our head. Sign me up, every time.
PS: You don’t have to dump a bucket of ice on your head…you can take the easy way out and just donate here.