Byron senior, Mitch George, experiences the chilling thrill of participating in the ĎALS Ice Bucket Challenge.' Photo by William Weigel
The viral effect of the #ALSicebucketchallenge
41.8 million dollars raised
2.2 million tweets
1.2 million videos shared on Facebook
739,275 new donors
By Mitch George
In a frenzy that has swept the nation, supporters have found themselves dumping ice-cold water upon themselves as a part of the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) fundraiser for awareness and funds. Although 'Ice Bucket Challenge' may sound unpleasant, the underlying cause makes it worthwhile. Take it from me. I completed the challenge last Wednesday for myself.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that hinders the spinal cord and nerve cells in the brain. In the late stages of the disease, patients endure muscle failure that eventually spreads to the lungs. Usually, patients are given a life expectancy of only three years from the time of diagnosis.
The Challenge was started to obviously raise awareness for ALS. However, there is a much deeper story. Pete Frates is a 29 year-old man who has developed ALS. Frates, a former college baseball player at Boston College, nominated himself for the Ice Bucket Challenge three weeks ago. Frates is also bound to a wheelchair and can no longer speak. After Pete nominated himself, the nationwide phenomenon exploded. From LeBron James, to Bill Gates, to Charlie Sheen, to Taylor Swift, everyone has been participating.
The Challenge works through a nomination system. Once you are nominated by someone who has completed the challenge, you (or you have someone else) dump a bucket of ice water over your head, while you are being videotaped. The next step is to upload the video to some form of social media (usually Facebook) and tag your three nominees. These nominees then have 24 hours to complete the Challenge, or make a donation to ALS.
According to the New York Times website, more than 1,200,000 videos have been shared on Facebook and more than 2,200,000 tweets have been tagged on Twitter regarding the Ice Bucket Challenge. In the last two months, the ALS Association has received more than 739,275 unique donors. From these donors alone, they have raised $41.8 million as of Wednesday, Aug. 20. Last year during this time (July 29-Aug. 21), donations totaled $2.1 million. Monetary stats are courtesy of the ALS Association.
The Ice Bucket Challenge spreads very rapidly over social media. I was nominated by my friend, whom was nominated by his cousin in Illinois. Another was nominated by her friend in California, and another from Florida.
At its core, the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' has been a monumental success when it comes to raising awareness and money; one of the biggest that has swept the nation in quite some time.
Although the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' keeps getting bigger, there is no limit on how much awareness can be raised for such a good cause.