While thousands around the globe are participating in the now world famous ice bucket challenge, some incidences have been particularly noteworthy. Sure, celebrities have been pitching in, gaining huge traction for the campaign and contributing to the enormous money raised. But some average people, just like you or me, who live with ALS have released profoundly moving interpretations of the ice bucket challenge which remind us what it’s all about. The video below, filmed by a daughter and her father – himself an ALS sufferer – is a particularly poignant example:
What’s The ‘Viral Challenge’ All About?
Viral challenges littering our newsfeeds are nothing new; from the ridiculous to the hazardous to the noble, they come in a wide array of incarnations. This month, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been the one to take over our newsfeeds – is it an irritating and self-congratulatory trend, or is it really making a difference? Indeed, how can stripping down and pouring ice over your head actually do anything for the cause of ALS sufferers?
Viral Challenges – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Viral challenges usually begin organically, with a challenger typically posting a video or picture of their endeavor on social media and nominating others to do the same. Over the last year, the dark side of viral challenges has seen impressionable teens filming themselves ‘car surfing’ – jumping from the roofs of moving cars – or downing entire bottles of hardcore liquor in the ill-advised ‘neknominate’ trend which was linked to several deaths across the United States and Europe. On the hand, we’ve also witnessed the life-changing, indisputably positive potential of the viral challenge. Notably the ‘no makeup selfie’ challenge raised over $224,000 for breast cancer awareness in March of 2014; while skeptics called it narcissistic and shallow, the figures show that unequivocal good came from this ostensibly frivolous pursuit. Indeed, this unofficial and organic viral campaign raised more money more quickly than any other single campaign by breastcancercampaign.org.
The Ice Bucket – A $15 million dollar challenge
Just five short months after the astounding success of the no makeup selfie, another noble cause is cashing in on social media users’ desire to self-promote – and, the less cynical will remind us, to do good. Until now, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, hasn’t been a particularly well-publicised plight. Today, it’s one of the most commonly trending topics on social media. CBS reports an astounding spike in donations to hat an almost unbelievable $168,000 was raised in just a week this month, since the challenge has been trending – that compares impressively to just $14,000 raised in the same period in 2013. What is the ice bucket challenge, and how did it start? Like all viral campaigns, it’s difficult to trace the precise origins. It’s believed it began in July as a frivolous challenge among friends, unaffiliated to a charitable cause. But when baseball player Pete Frates – a sufferer of motor neuron disease – participated in the challenge, he added #StrikeOutALS to his video, and the campaign took on a life of its own. According to a report by Alexandra Sifferlin of Time online, “the organization said Monday that it’s received more than $15 million from existing donors and 307,598 new donors.” ESPN compiled this moving documentary on Pete’s achievement: