Raising awareness, importance of taking the plunge

By Erica Abbott
September 10, 2014

(Creative Commons Attribution)
(Creative Commons Attribution)

The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” was the hit of the summer. Its mission was to raise awareness on the debilitating disease that is ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The video campaign turned viral, raising millions of dollars in just one month. In its latest news release, the ALS Association announced that from July 29 to Aug. 29, $100 million was donated from 3 million new donors. During that same period of time last year, the association had raised $2.8 million.

Before the campaign began to “Strike Out ALS,” many people hardly knew what ALS was. Now millions of people, including celebrities, have accepted the challenge and raised awareness. Celebrities like Dave Grohl, Charlie Sheen, Chris Pratt and more have made their mark on the campaign.

Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS at age 27, popularized the challenge by advocating for change. Little did anyone know that his first challenge would lead to such a social media phenomenon. The challenge calls for the nominated person to pour a bucket of ice water over their head and make a video of it, posting it on social media channels with the hashtags #ALSIceBucketChallenge and #StrikeOutALS.

Whether they accept the challenge or not, nominees were to supposed to donate to the ALS Association. If they did not accept the challenge of dumping the water on themselves, however, a $100 donation was to be made. Any amount donated is significant though and passing the challenge on to three more people increased its visibility.

Over time, ALS often leads to complete paralysis. Patient Pete Frates now depends on a full-time nurse to do everyday activities, eats through a feeding tube and is only able to speak through the help of a computer.

Tens of thousands of people in the United States suffer from ALS but there is currently no cure. Oftentimes, those affected die within two to five years of diagnosis, according to the ALS Association’s website. That’s why the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign is so important.

Anthony Carbajal, another person who suffers from ALS, also made a video demonstrating the importance of the challenge. His video went viral as he discussed how scary ALS is. The “Ice Bucket Challenge” holds such a positive impact, even though money may not always be donated. Making the video raises awareness and gets people talking. For weeks, Facebook and Twitter were dominated with videos of people taking on the challenge.

Some people began getting annoyed over seeing all the videos on their timelines of the challenge. Well, it sure got people talking, which is the most important thing. Whether you do the video yourself or don’t see the point in doing the challenge, at least awareness is still being raised. Details and information are still being exposed and circulated across the Internet.

I myself was nominated for the challenge a couple of weeks ago. Instead of dumping the bucket of ice water over my head, however, my family and I made donations to the ALS Association and Epilepsy Foundation. To raise awareness, I posted an article I had written about ALS and the importance of remembering its origins. It’s not just about participating in the latest trend of dumping a bucket of ice water over your head; it’s about learning about ALS and raising awareness.

Erica Abbott

Hi my name is Erica Abbott and I am the News Editor for the Loquitur this year. I am currently a junior Communication major, Spanish minor. I am also a social buzz editorial intern with Business 2 Community. I am very interested in the arts, social media, photography and writing.

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