A new fad for charity has gone viral in social media. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been going on for about two months, but it has just been in the past two weeks or so that the challenge has skyrocketed. It has helped to raise money and more importantly, awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, also known as ALS. Between July 31 and August 18 of 2013, the charity had raised $1.8 million dollars. In the same time period of 2014, they have raised over $42 million. The rules are simple: first, accept the challenge, and pour ice into a bucket of water; second, you pour the bucket over your head; third, you challenge others by name to do the same. You donate a certain amount if you do the challenge, but if you choose to pass on the challenge (as some have done), you must donate a larger amount. The point of this challenge is obviously to raise money for research, so both challenger and the challenged should donate. That’s the bare bones of the whole thing.
Now to my rant.
I have been following along on social media a certain trend, if you will. Some people deride the challenge as being a “waste of water”, and a “chance at 15 minutes of fame”, and even “selfie grandstanding”. Others think the challenge is stupid because it’s not “jackass” daredevil enough. I have seen friends of friends say that it is better to send bottled water to Africa than to do this challenge. I have seen friends complain about it filling their media feed. Well, my turn to say something.
WHAT THE HELL, PEOPLE??
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Every day for a month we are inundated in pink. PINK!! And I don’t mean her music, either. Every organization, from the NFL to Hollywood to airlines to grocery stores to every single thing wears or decorates in pink to “bring awareness” of cancer. Hell, you can get a Kitchen Aid® mixer in a special shade of pink just for that campaign. They wear pink to “support awareness”. What the hell does that do? Who DOESN’T support awareness?? Putting a pink ribbon on everything doesn’t mean a thing. Most people are not aware that when they buy a pink ribbon pencil or a pink ribbon apron that the money is not necessarily earmarked for a breast cancer research foundation like the Susan G. Komen Foundation™. In fact, most of it isn’t. Only certain things specifically endorsed as having its proceeds go to a foundation are earmarked. But people still do it, and charities (plural) raise MILLIONS towards research. And yet some of the same people who complain about the Ice Bucket Challenge have no problem with Pink October. Seems a bit hypocritical to me.
Look, I’m not saying you have to do the challenge. I’m not saying don’t send water to Africa. And I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t donate to breast cancer research. What I am saying is, no harm, no foul. You don’t like it on your feed, adjust your damn settings and quit complaining. Social media doesn’t belong to you. This has done more to increase donations to a worthy cause than anything I can recall. I do think that whole “it wastes water” is a bunch of hooey, seeing as most of the water ends up on a lawn in most videos. But it makes you seem rather small when you complain about a challenge that is harmless to you and to the participant. My grandmother-in-law passed away from ALS, and a very good friend of mine has lost family members to it, and now her mother has it. Unlike breast cancer, ALS cannot be treated so research is vital. Taking the challenge is a way to show others that you aren’t afraid. If you would rather donate directly, as we do every year, go to the ALS Association website.
And enjoy the fact that you can help, and cool off at the same time 🙂