#IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeOutALS

If you don’t know what all the fuss is about, here is my video, and it should explain quite a bit: Jackie’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I see a lot of negative feedback regarding the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, and the like. Critics are “ashamed” of the ice challenge for a variety of reasons, but the primary one sounds something like “the seriousness of the situation is being diluted by something so preposterous as pouring a bucket of ice water on your head.”

I am one to agree and to disagree with the above statement:

Agree: The gravity of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as a merciless disease affecting tens of thousands of people is not one to be taken lightly. Also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Annually, approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS, and it is estimated that ALS is responsible for two deaths per 100,000 population (the ALS Association). ALS can affect anyone, no matter your ethnicity or socioeconomic standing. One drug, Riluzole, has been approved by the FDA for ALS patients, but it is not a cure for the disease, as it only prolongs life for a few months. Thus, ALS has a 100% mortality rate. From these facts, we can all agree that more attention should be dedicated towards the search for a cure to ALS and that the personal situation for any ALS patient or family member of a patient should not be taken without some perspective.

Disagree: While a lot of people who are nominated for the challenge don’t donate monetarily to the cause, there are a lot of people who do. From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge alone, the ALS Association has received $4 mil in donations as compared with $1.12 mil during the same time period last year! However, if you don’t choose to donate, your video contribution still impacts an audience by increasing the visibility of the disease. That said, by making a video, you MUST be knowledgeable about the disease and its significance in our society. It’s your responsibility to research basic facts and empathize with others who may be personally affected. You can edit a creative, hilarious video, but remember the real goal, aside from raising more money for research, of empowering others to take the initiative to educate themselves on the issue.

My favorite book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is about Albom’s experiences visiting his college professor, Morrie Schwartz, after Morrie is diagnosed with ALS. Some themes of the book include love, happiness, acceptance, family, values, and communication. Most distinguishably, Morrie urges Albom to forge his own culture and value system amidst today’s popular culture sensationalized by countless media sources. This message is one to keep close to heart as more and more people involve themselves in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Create a video, but don’t become a victim to ignorance!

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