All right, so I’m about two weeks tardy on this story, but as a blog that prides itself on discussing news and pop culture trends, it would be criminal if I ignored the recent developments in science research that directly involve the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.”
The charitable movement took the world by storm in the summer of 2014. Video after video emerged on social media of average people, celebrities, athletes, politicians and everyone in between dousing themselves in ice cold water, and then challenging three others to do the same — all in the name of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS for short, and also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
During the height of the phenomenon, I voiced my satisfaction of seeing people unite in a fun way behind a meaningful cause — it provided entertainment watching your friend uncomfortably drench themselves in freezing cold water, all while raising awareness and money for a brutal, debilitating disease with no known cure. And yes, I did make my own video.
My only criticism was of the few people who I noticed at the time were actually demeaning participants of the Ice Bucket Challenge, claiming that if they really wanted to make a difference, they’d donate money rather than simply pouring water on themselves.
At the time I said those select people were clearly miserable and that they are probably the type of people who aren’t satisfied with life unless they have something to complain about.
Two years later — I have only one thing to say to those people.
*Cue the vintage Nelson “HA HA!” from The Simpsons*
It turns out that the challenge actually accomplished something. The beneficiary organization — the ALS Association — said the campaign raised over $115 million, and of that, $77 million was used to fund research.
Out of that research came a discovery by scientists of a new gene linked to ALS — and while the New York Times points out that the finding, while significant, is not a breakthrough (there are 30 known genes tied to the disease), it means that any treatment that is administered can now be given to a broader range of people who suffer from the disease.
So what can we learn from this? That when people shove aside their differences and focus on humanity and helping others, we can actually enjoy ourselves while making this world a better place.
Perhaps we can also use this as an example for future movements — like the “Dump Trump Rice Pudding Challenge,” where everyone coats their face with the tasty dessert while pledging not to vote for Trump, and then challenging three others.
It might catch on.
Hey, don’t laugh. After all, it’s a better attention grabber than climbing a building.