The Ice Bucket Challenge Phenomenon
August 11, 2014
August 11, 2014
Did I pour a bucket over my head this weekend filled with ice water? Yes. Did I also make a donation inspired by all of my friends willing to do so, as well? Yes.
Whether you donated or took the challenge or both, it is hard to miss this viral sensation raising awareness of ALS. Interestingly, the challenge started out as a more general dare, with the victim allowed to choose any charity he liked. But, what interests me most is how people who are interested in raising funds and awareness for ALS have adopted this phenomenon and made it their own.
BC baseball player Pete Frates (married to a girl from my hometown of Marblehead) is living with ALS and his friends and former teammates latched onto the Ice Bucket Challenge with a vengeance. The range of participants in my Facebook feed has been impressive – grandparents, kids, professional athletes, media personalities and entire companies – all focused on doing it for ALS. And, now the challenge has been wholly identified with this cause – and no one actually remembers how it started. Apparently, pro golfer Rickie Fowler did it in June, then challenged fellow golfer Keegan Bradley. Once Greg Norman challenged Matt Lauer and he complied on the Today Show, it went viral. But for them, it was for the charity of their choice.
Elle.com has the story here, including a video post by Pete Frakes himself, whose story is inspiring and compelling. His friends and family jumped on this out of their love for Pete and it shows that in this social media- focused world, it doesn’t always require an enormously expensive effort to create buzz. A good idea and committed volunteers can make something truly special happen. While in the Boston area the challenge has been adopted specifically for ALS, I wonder what is happening in the rest of the country. Maybe there is another geographic pocket where another local cause has taken on the mantle.
I am already hearing that ALS fundraising is spiking and that money is going to finding a cure and helping those living with the disease have better lives. And, somehow by dumping ice water on my head and then posting it on Facebook, I feel more connected to the momentum than by my donation. I’m proud of all my friends who were also brave enough to endure the discomfort, but hope they took the time to learn more about ALS and/or donate as well.