ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Have you noticed an influx of videos showing your friends dumping buckets of ice water over their heads? No, your friends haven’t lost their minds – they’re participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, a national effort to raise awareness and funding for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started by Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. In the challenge, one person nominates several friends to record a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head or donate $100 to an ALS research fund. Those participants nominate their own list of friends to participate, causing the challenge to spread through social networks. Last week, the social media craze reached Jennings when Kelly Woodum, executive director of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications, nominated Dan to take part in the challenge. Check out his video:
The Ice Bucket Challenge has grown so large that it has gained celebrity participants, such as Martha Stewart, Justin Timberlake, and even Ethel Kennedy, and has been featured on The Today Show.
For those of you wondering how a bunch of people dousing themselves in ice water is actually effective at raising funds and awareness, consider this: According to ALS Association spokeswoman Carrie Munk, the organization has collected $1.35 million from July 29 to August 11. During the same time last year, donations totaled $22,000.
What’s more, the Ice Bucket Challenge has got the country talking about ALS, a disease that is not often in the national spotlight. It will be interesting to see how far this simple social media campaign will go toward raising funding and creating a national discussion about ALS.