The "Ice Bucket Challenge" has raised both money and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Currently, there are 30,000 people in America who have the disease. It's the type of disease that attacks the nerve cells and eventually leads to the person's total paralysis. However, the mind remains sharp. Once the person is diagnosed with ALS, he can expect to live two to five more years.
The challenge, backed by social media, naturally became huge and viral with thousands of videos and personal participation ever recorded. "It's like a game of Would-You-Rather involving the entire internet where, appallingly, most Americans would rather dump ice water on their head than donate to charity. There are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but most the annoying is that it's basically narcissism masked as altruism," said writer Arielle Pardes of Vice.
The stunt is plain and simple. A person will make a video of himself as he dumps a bucket of ice water on his head. The video will then be posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites. Afterwards, the person will challenge his friends to do the same "ice water dumping" within 24 hours. Otherwise, he ought to donate $100 to ALS. According to some records, several people have actually done both - taking the challenge and donating $100.
For the period between June 1 and Aug. 13, there were at least 1.2 million videos that have been posted on Facebook. On Twitter, the "new summer craze" has been mentioned more than 2.2 million times since July 29. Most importantly, people's donations to ALS Association have been pouring in quickly. So far, the association has received 13.3 million of donated money since July 29 which is huge compared to the $1.7 million it received during the same period of the previous year. There were also a reported number of new donors which reached 260,000.
On the other hand, not everyone seemed convinced. Some people have criticized the campaign by associating it with "slacktivism." The latter refers to those people who click and post online because they want to make a difference but only a small impact was created.
The man behind the fundraising side of the challenge is 29 year old Peter Frates who is a former captain of the Boston College baseball team. Diagnosed in 2012 with ALS, he posted a video of himself pouring a bucket of ice water as he was sitting on his wheelchair. The post earned 15 million likes in Facebook.
Some famous celebrities and personalities that have taken the challenge include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Fallon, Ethel Kennedy, LeBron James, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Chris Christie, Robert Downey Jr. and Taylor Swift.