Thoughts on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Unless you’ve been hiding beneath a social media-free rock over the past few weeks, you’ve seen videos of people – regular Joes and celebrities alike – dousing themselves in ice cold water. Heck, you might have even taken part in these actions. So is there some sort of heat wave causing this outbreak of sudden ice showers lately? Nope: it’s just people being charitable, raising funds and spreading awareness for a disease that has taken too many peoples’ lives.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, affectionately hashtagged as #ALSIceBucketChallenge, is an event where the participant either douses themselves with a bucket of ice water or donates $100 to the ALS Association in hopes of finding a cure (or both….preferably both). The participant then nominates three friends to partake in the challenge. While this all seems fun, several people are questioning the point, and it’s really quite simple.

Unless ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, as the disease took the life of the legendary Yankees first baseman at only 37 years old) has directly affected your life, it’s likely you know a mere overview about it, if anything. Briefly, it is a neurological degenerative disease which destroys a patient’s ability to control their muscles. This is fatal, as a person can no longer breathe by themselves. This article posted on Yahoo! does a great job of providing a synopsis of the disease and some big players in the challenge.

So we’re learning, and we’re getting freezing and wet for a good cause, and we’re raising the donations made to find a cure to the disease by millions based on the funding from last year. As we have seen, several NHL players have taken to this challenge. Some stay low key, like Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos

… some honor all of the challenges made to them, like St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen

..and some make it a “holy crap!” production, like free agent fourth-liner Paul Bissonnette.

As a fan of the sport, and a fan of fundraising opportunities, I’m so proud to see athletes participating in this challenge. There’s no telling what difference even one star player (or star anchor) could make by simply hiring a helicopter to dump glacier water on them atop the Rockies – or, you know, dumping a bucket of water with cheap ice – over their head and challenging not only their colleagues, but also the general public, to open their eyes to a disease that might have otherwise gone silent. Kudos to these guys, and kudos to all of those out there who have participated.

You can learn more about the disease and the charity at the ALS Association page here.

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13 thoughts on “Thoughts on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

  • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Not to be too cynical on this thing, but why can’t Paul Bissonnette donate the money he used to rent a helicopter(!) To ALS research?

    I understand the importance of raising awareness, but this viral trend seems a little self-serving. Maybe I’m too cynical.

    • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

      He also donated $1,000

      • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:34 am

        RFIB – A lot of people seem to feel the way you do, and honestly I don’t get it. Maybe this does make people feel good about themselves and get them a little camera time, but who cares? The initiative has raised millions of dollars for a cause that has been largely ignored for years. I think the most recent figures I saw indicated that since the start of the challenge, 5x the money has been donated compared to all of last YEAR. Maybe it’s silly, but it’s getting results, and isn’t that all that matters?
        And is William noted, Paul also donated. And you can bet his awesome video inspired more people to donate, create bigger productions that captured the attention of their friends, and spider webbed from there.

        • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

          Just stumbled across this stat: 145,918 new people have donated to the ALS Association as a direct result of this campaign.

    • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Many of these guys donate as well as share the ice bucket part. I think it’s great that they do, since fans are excited to see their participation. I also love that Biz put all of that information at the end of the video for viewers to see — and, when I first saw it two days ago, it had over 300k views.

    • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:34 am

      About 90% of the people challenged donate in addition to dumping the water.

      I was challenged, and will be videoing/donating tonight.

      • Aug 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

        Thanks Dave for doing that! As you know this horrifying disease took my father’s life. I think this awareness is important but as well the donations are too as they do help families and patients in need.

    • Aug 15, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Perhaps, he feels that if he does it extravagently, it gets more attention and gets even more athletes to do it, hence more money to the cause. Just my opinion, but I could be wrong.

      • Aug 15, 2014 at 11:07 am


  • Aug 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    ALS took my Dad too. So happy to see this horrible affliction get some real attention. Thanks to all who are participating. Who is the jerk giving thumbs down to every comment. Perhaps he or she should spend some time soaking in ice water.

    • Aug 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Wayne, I’m sorry for your loss. Some people are just jerks, no use getting upset over them. I’m really glad that these donations are benefiting your father’s memory.

      • Aug 14, 2014 at 2:20 pm

        Thanks Becky. That was really sweet.

  • Aug 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Here’s Hank’s video:

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