More than the amusing and overly hilarious videos of seeing celebrities freeze their way to promoting a considerably greater cause, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge confronts something more serious and devastating – a life of suffering, deterioration, and death.
So you see, this chain of calling out to someone and challenging that person is not just a simple “show off” to prove that a person can withstand the downpour of a bucket loaded with ice and water on his or her head.
But what the heck!
What matters is the donating part of the deal. You can douse all the chilled water all you want but if you did not make the ultimate gesture of going to www.alsa.org and clicking on the red “Donate” icon and actually making a donation, your stunt is nothing but terrible, terrible entertainment.
Seriously though, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a delight. Whoever made this concept must be given an award for ingenuity and uniqueness.
Now, for those who are unaware of what the fuss is all about and why on earth are people, despite of the fact that winter is coming, are drenching themselves in cold, cold water, here are five things that you must know about this craze.
Fact #1: ALS stands for something medical and not just a bunch of ice and water, in a bucket causing a semi-pneumonia aftereffect.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or what is now regarded by the world as ALS, is a progressive, neuromuscular disorder that destroys the brain’s motor neurons, including the spinal cord.
Amyotrophic is collectively a Greek term which means “the absence of muscle nourishment”.
Lateral is the identification of spinal cord involvement where neurons which are responsible for muscle control and sending signals to different parts of the body is located.
Finally, sclerosis is coined as the gradual hardening and scarring of that particular region and at the same time, the degeneration and demise of the neurons.
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease because of its reference to the New York Yankees baseball player, Lou Gehrig, who, in the 1930s, was diagnosed with the said disease.
Fact #2: ALS takes the life out of the affected person in a gradual decline and has only one outcome: Death.
Here’s what happens to a person who has ALS:
Since it’s a progressive, degenerative disease that affects the motor neurons of the brain, it technically weighs down on the person’s ability to control the movement of muscles.
Fact check: The body is mainly composed of muscles, the heart is considered as one of the strongest muscles of the body. Without muscles, movement is impossible.
Now that the brain no longer has control over the muscles, the muscles tend to become weaker and smaller that affects voluntary movement. As expected, the person will eventually become paralyzed.
Progression of the disease:
Disease progression is first seen in the extremities namely the feet and hands. Then it starts to spread to the different body parts. As the disease advances, the patient will then experience inability to chew, swallow, speak, and breathe. The moment breathing is affected, a ventilator is required to facilitate breathing.
Side note: One of the most common causes of death in ALS patients is respiratory arrest.
Since ALS mainly affects the motor function, the patient still retains cognition, sensory functions, and bowel control. You can still engage and interact with him or her.
Fact #3: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is created to raise awareness and not to make oneself a Youtube sensation.
No, you should not dump a bucket full of ice and water on your head if you are just aiming for hits on Youtube. That’s not how the challenge is designed for.
The main reason why the Ice Bucket Challenge is fashioned the way it is, is not necessarily to entertain; of course it is a joy to see your favorite celebrity shriek in horror as the frosty water run down their entire being. However, the Ice Bucket Challenge’s main purpose is to elevate awareness to people that the disease is real and this is how it exactly feels – accurately like an ice cold bucket of water was poured down on you over and over and over and over again. It makes you numb and helpless for a couple of seconds.
That realization is not a laughing matter and there’s nothing amusing about that.
Fact #4: The Ice Bucket Challenge is now a worldwide phenomenon.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, for those who are still unaware, originally started as a dare of:
If you choose NOT to pour a bucket of ice and water, you have to donate $100 to the ALS organization of your choice. However, if you’d rather do the challenge, then you save yourself a hundred dollars.
But where’s the fun in that?!
So, the celebrities (bless their kind, generous hearts) decided that they would still do the challenge and would still donate to the organization. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Awesome.
It starts with a nomination. If you were nominated, you have to take a video of yourself stating that you accept the challenge and at the same time, you get to nominate three others to do it and they have to respond within 24 hours. And it just goes on and on. It’s pandemic but in a good, charitable way.
Who were chosen?
As of now, there are tons of famous, prominent people who are challenged every day. Some of them are influential people like Justin Timberlake or Oprah, or hunks like Chris Pratt, David Beckham, and Chris Hemsworth (with the special participation of their influential, muscular body and abs), or even political figures like Robert Downey Jr., Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates (pun intended), and the list goes on.
Indeed, those are quite influential people.
So influential that the whole world is basically imitating their deed and doing it; well, mainly because dousing yourself with freezing water is the newest craze and you get the chance to give to charity. Cool. Literally.
Fact #5: ALS origins: Unknown. Cure: None yet.
There might have been researches stating that ALS is genetic but it’s yet to be proven. As of today, more than 90% of ALS cases are randomly occurring without any clear cause. Factors like infections, toxic agents, trauma and others are being taken into consideration when it comes to main causes of ALS.
Which leads us to the main reason why the fund-raising challenge was made – for research. As of August 29, the ALS Foundation in the US has reported to have raised around $100 million.
Clearly, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been a huge success and is still continuing to spread throughout nations to educate, motivate, inspire and promote change in the phase of medical history.