Ice bucket challenge numbs the purpose behind cause

Sean Pitts, Orlando Sentinel, MCT campus


Sean Pitts, Orlando Sentinel, MCT campus

by Marissa Ochoa, Staff Writer

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more popularly known as ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease affecting the brain and spine. It is approximated 5,600 Americans are diagnosed each year. If I were to poll the streets a year ago, not many people would be able to recall this deadly disease. However, ALS has taken social media by storm in form of the infamous ice bucket challenge. The rules of the game state whoever is nominated must dump ice water over their head within 24 hours unless they donate to the cause.

Although, it could be argued ALS is finally getting recognition and the funding it needs, but I have to question at what cost?

Let’s not forget California is in one of its worst droughts in history and it’s only getting worse.

It’s bad enough that we have a scarce amount of fresh water Californians can use, but it’s idiotic at best to waste gallons of water on a trendy challenge.”

As of now, hundreds of residents are finding themselves living without water for months at a time. It’s even reached a point where water bottle donations are in dire need; and yet there are people dumping gallons of water toward a cause that can gain its donations without this ice bucket nonsense.

Dumping water on oneself while standing over grass hardly justifies the wasteful action of fresh water. With California’s third year into the drought, grass is the last thing anyone should be watering, for it has no significant value except for vanity.

I can see why the ice bucket challenge is so tempting. It’s a fun way to get the word out about a serious illness, but does anyone actually know what the ice bucket challenge is doing? Because it’s not doing much in the long run.

ALS is being treated like a trend that will die out sooner or later. The influx of donations to ALS is fortunately overwhelming, but likely not long lasting. Let’s recall Kony 2012. I remember what a splash it made on social media and I also remember how passionate people my age were to fight for the cause.

I have a question for those people: Do you still keep up with Kony today? Do you even know what happened to him? The reason why most people won’t have an answer to this is because it was a trend.

Unfortunately, the ALS ice bucket challenge is going down that same route.

I can confidently predict that in a year, the ice bucket challenge will be followed with a unanimous “oh yeah, I remember that.” Trends come as quickly as they go. Eventually, the ALS challenge will be replaced by yet another viral challenge and will slowly fade into obscurity.

I’m sure donating to ALS has made several people sleep better at night knowing they have contributed. The problem with this is that ALS, although very serious, is a rare disease. This means it doesn’t affect as many people as heart disease, for example. People are still glad to give what money they have for the cause all because it piggybacks on a narcissistic challenge.

Who cares how ALS gained donations? As long as it gained money that’s all that matters, right? Wrong.

Living in a self-centered society, people tend to help charities that call for amusement and/or vain gimmicks. The second that fades, the same charity begins to lose its appeal.

What’s happening now is not support for ALS, but support for the ice bucket challenge. I hardly believe any of my peers would donate toward ALS had it not been for this viral activity.

So for all of you planning on doing the challenge, I have a proposal for you: Skip the water, go on the Internet and donate to the cause because you understand and support the research. Don’t donate just because your ice bucket challenge needed brownie points.

ALS will still be here when the trend dies out. Donate while it’s still cool. Based off what I’ve seen, that’s the only reason why anybody is donating anyway.