By Madeleine Schwartz
Do you remember when you wore eight silly bands around your wrist because it was the “popular thing to do”? Or when the only “cool way” to take a selfie was to make a duck face?
These trends are long gone and now the only proper way to finish out your summer is to complete the ALS ice bucket challenge.
The ice bucket challenge all began when Pete Frates, a man currently battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), shared his video on Facebook and Twitter.
To complete the challenge, a person must dump a bucket of ice water over their head in less than 24 hours after they have been nominated.
According to the ALS Association, ALS is a progressive disease that deteriorates the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This very serious illness eventually leads to loss of muscle control and unfortunately, death.
Ever since Frates’ initial video, the popularity of this challenge has grown incredibly and has brought positive awareness about ALS along with it. Celebrities from LeBron James, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have all gotten wet and wild to show their support. As more and more celebrities take the plunge for the cause, more videos are shared and donations are made.
Many Manhattan College students have come face to face with the ice bucket challenge. Junior Vanessa Chionchio completed the challenge when she was on vacation in Disney World. “I did it in the Dolphin Resort while I was in Disney. I have a family friend who died of ALS so I saw this as an opportunity to spread the word and help find a cure,” Chionchio said.
Another student who took the challenge to heart was Junior J.P. Consiglio. While at his home in Connecticut, he filmed his contribution to the ALS cause. “I participated in the challenge because spreading awareness about a cause, illness or organization is always a good thing. I also plan to donate to ALS.”
Time Magazine has reported that from July 29 to August 18, the ALS Association has received close to 12 million dollars in donations. Last year, the Association had only received 50,000 in donations for the same time period. This is not just a popularity contest or another breeze-by craze; there are hard facts that prove just how powerful this challenge is.
This challenge has brought ALS to the forefront of people’s minds. The cold sensation that people experience as they dump ice water on themselves is similar to what those diagnosed with ALS feel everyday.
It allows people to relate to a cause and understand what they are spreading awareness about. So here is my proposition to you: do the ALS ice bucket challenge. Do it to learn what other people’s lives are like. Do it to help people with ALS and need the support.
Follow the crowd and just do it. You won’t regret it.