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“Kiss My ALS”

By: Kezia Velista

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising Awareness or Raising Peer Pressure

Three words: Ice Bucket Challenge. There is no way to avoid this combination of words on news feeds, televisions, and social media websites. The phenomenon absolutely exploded in the U.S and other countries the past couple of months. Thousands, perhaps millions, of these videos have been circulating around the internet and the world!

From Charlie Sheen pouring ten thousand dollars on himself to photographer Anthony Carbajal rubbing his butt cheeks that mark, “kiss my ALS” against a car window, people have completed all sorts of ice bucket challenge videos.

Admit it though, before this started, some had never even heard of ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. It is a disorder that affects muscles and neurons causing difficulty in breathing, talking, as well as swallowing. Not only that, it eventually deteriorates all muscular capabilities, prohibiting walking, using one’s limbs, and even getting out of bed.

When asked what he knew about the disease, computer science major Yale Davis explained, “It’s a neurological degenerative disease that slowly makes the body becomes paralyzed and shut down after the neurons stemming from the brain and spinal cord break down. I actually only know this because of the ice bucket challenge!”

Also, ALS is not contagious. Most people are diagnosed due to their genetic history. ALS can happen to anyone no matter what race or background, which is why there’s a minority of sporadic cases in existence.

Unfortunately, the simple cause of ALS itself is unknown. There is also currently no cure for it; patients with this disorder live usually up to five years and ten percent of people live more than ten years.

Patrick Quinn and Corey Griffin are the men who helped made this Ice Bucket Challenge viral throughout the world. Quinn, who is actually diagnosed with ALS, was in shock of how quickly the movement grew. As of August 25, 2014 the ALS association received $79.7 million in donations. This time last year, they only had about $2.5 million.

Even with all the positive light that has come through from the Ice Bucket Challenge, there are some skeptics who are opposed to these challenges, saying that it is completely useless and does not actually help, like economics major Chris Charleston.

He rants, “I think that the challenge really hasn’t helped that much. Let’s look at KONY 2012. It is easy to generate hype on social networks but hard to translate that into concrete actions. The incentive to do the challenge is from peer pressure and wanting to be part of what everyone else is doing, with the charity token side effect. People may be more aware, but no more inclined to do anything about ALS itself.”

On the other hand, Yale said, “I think it’s important to raise awareness over all diseases that affect human lives ,because they pay respect to victims and honor the people helping those affiliated.”

Whatever your viewpoints or opinions may be, the ice bucket challenge is one of those things that’s at least raised a ton of publicity about ALS and shows that we as a society love to help others. For more information regarding to the disorder or to make a donation, visit http://www.alsa.org/.


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