Ice Bucket Challenge needs research to educate students

Kali Daniel

It’s bombarded every form of social media I’ve been on. It’s cold. It’s humorous. It’s seemingly illogical. It’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

“Kali, I know where you’re going with this. It’s for a good cause!”

Agreed. I think. That’s the problem. With all of the ice bucket challenges to raise awareness about ALS, I haven’t seen one video explaining what it is, and I didn’t know what it is until now.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the degeneration of motor neurons throughout the body. In layman’s terms, certain nerves in the body connecting the brain with the spinal cord and muscles throughout the body deteriorate over time. As those neurons cease to communicate with the rest of the body, muscles harden then die, ultimately causing total brain failure. It is fatal in every case.

That was fairly simple to research, so why did no one include it in their video? If it’s to raise awareness and donate money, that’s fantastic. At the moment I’m writing this, the ALS Association states they have raised more than $53 million due to this viral challenge. But of all the people who have donated, how many of them actually know what they’ve donated to?

According to the Robert A. Stehlin Campaign for ALS, 90 percent of people still have no idea what ALS is.

Before taking part in a viral video challenge, regardless of the cause, do the necessary research. Know what the mission is, where the money is going and what the long-term goals are. Don’t just do it because Ben Affleck did it or because your best friend challenged you. Know the cause you’re fighting for.

Know that dumping five gallons of ice water on your head is not the only way to raise awareness about any disease. Make a video about something you’re passionate about, just to remind people it exists.

Know that you can do things a little differently than everyone else. I saw a friend take a spin on the ice bucket challenge – don’t worry, she still doused herself in cold water, but she challenged others to donate to the Celiac Disease Foundation. She lives with Celiac Disease and felt her cause was just as important, because it is.

Most of all, know that no matter where you donate, you should know that it’s for a good cause and educate others about it. By understanding the fundamentals about the causes you’re passionate about, you’ll be not only an asset to the movement, but a lasting example of what it truly means to serve.