You probably have encountered at least a couple of videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The videos are basically records of activities which involve dumping a bucket of ice water on someone's head. This is done to promote awareness of the disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease while at the same time encouraging more people to donate to its research cause.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral throughout a wide variety of social media platforms (particularly on Facebook) during late July and August of 2014.
There have been more than 1.5 million videos pertaining to the challenge that have been shared on Facebook between June 1 and Aug. 13. One of the most long-staying trend topics, the awareness phenomenon was mentioned over 2.5 million times on Twitter between the end of July and mid of August, according to The New York Times,
ALS is a debilitating disease that basically triggers a slow paralysis on those who are stricken by causing the nerve cells to stop working. It's literally an ongoing death sentence. With the exception of some cases like that of Stephen Hawking, most people who are diagnosed with the ailment willonly live only two to five years.
There's no cure for the disease as of the moment. The goal of the several groups affiliated with ALS Association is to raise money for research and patient services while at the same time raising awareness.
The rules of the ALS Challenge are simple: those who have been mentioned or tagged by participants have two options to complete the said challenge. The first is to record a video of themselves pouring a bucket of ice-cold water over their head. The other is to donate $100 to an ALS charity of his or her choice.
There are cases, especially those who are of celebrity status, would still pledge to donate and at the same time pour themselves with the ice water.
Its virality on social media did result to the massive increase of support poured in to ALS charities. New York Times reported that the association had received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until Aug. 21.
Despite its popularity, there are still those who refuse to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
"It's social media exhibitionism, more about attention-seeking than philanthropy," the Telegraph stated.
William MacAskill, Vice-President of "Giving What We Can" indicated that though the intention of the movement is good, its sudden surge of popularity "cannibalized" potential donations that other charities would have otherwise received.