The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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One thing we all recall from the Summer of 2014 is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Who would’ve known that purposefully dumping a bucket of ice-cold water over your head would grow into a trend that everyone who is living out from under a rock would be doing?

In case you actually have been living under a rock, I’ll explain exactly what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is exactly what it sounds like, a challenge. If you get nominated to do the challenge, you have two options: dump a big bucket of bitter cold water with ice over your head or donate a minimum of $50 to the ALS Association. If you do decide to do the challenge, you must post a video on a social media site with 3 new people to nominate to take on the challenge.

To say that only a few people did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is an understatement. For days ALS Ice Bucket Challenge posts clogged just about everyone’s news feeds. Last summer anyone who was anyone was participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Not only were all of your friends and family members posting their video to show they, too, did the challenge, celebrities even got in on the newest trend to show their support for the cause….

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People magazine‘s 2014 sexiest woman in the world, Kate Upton, getting cold water dumped over her head to promote ALS awareness.

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Everyone’s favorite The Voice judge, Adam Levine, taking on a cooler-filled splash of cold water.

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 Shakira‘s hips wouldn’t lie and say that water wasn’t freezing cold.

But if all these celebs didn’t convince you that everyone and their mother is doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, here’s someone that all of us at JMU look up to for guidance….

Oh, yes, ladies and gentlemen. Good ol’ President Alger even joined in on the trend to support the good cause back in August right before we arrived to begin our first year of college

Now, I know what you are thinking, what does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge actually have to do with ALS? The idea behind it is actually quite interesting. The second your body is hit with the ice cold water, it goes into a state of shock where your body can’t move and has no feeling. This state is similar to what ALS patients have to deal with everyday.

So, you can see how the simple, and what seemed meaningless, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge opened the public’s eyes to what is a terrible, life-threatening disease.

Along with just plain awareness, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought in tremendous donations. Many who participated in the challenge, including the celebrities, also donated sizable donations to the association.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised more money in those few weeks for the association than they have raised in the course of a year on their own. With that being said, the association is now facing the problem of figuring out how to allocate these new funds. Here’s an NPR podcast talking about exactly how much money the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought in and how the organization hopes to spend it:

Now, these millions and millions of dollars that were raised this past summer wouldn’t have plopped in the ALS association’s lap magically if it weren’t for the social media presence that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had.

Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were used as a catalyst to raise awareness of the disease. Many had no idea what ALS was before the enormous Internet trend. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge created awareness and donations for research and scientific advancements.

Now that people are aware of the disease and the pain and aguish that ALS patients go through, people are willing to donate to try to find a cure. This kind of awareness wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

People can’t join or donate to a cause that they don’t know exists.

Now, with a simple video, some kind words, and some wet clothes, we can all be ALS Association supporters.

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