The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dominated Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and pretty much the entirety of the world over the summer. In the end, it sparked awareness about ALS and resulted in people donating a lot of money to the fight towards ALS, but did it really do more good than harm?
Since the Ice Bucket Challenge swept the nation, it raised over one hundred million dollars for the ALS Association. According to International Business Times, the ALS Association spent 79 percent of their budget on events and programs and only spent 21 percent on actual research for the disease. Call me crazy, but no matter how many events and programs you put together, the disease isn’t going to cure itself. You sort of need science, medicine and research to even start thinking of an aid or cure. How the ALS Association will allocate their money this time around has not been released, but with such a surge of cash and help, I hope that the organization makes a smart move and decides to put at least half of the money towards research.
Another thing that really irks me about things such as the Ice Bucket Challenge is how much of a fad it becomes. Friends were nominating their friend’s friends, and not sticking to the three person limit rule. It became about making an Instagram video or doing the challenge because everyone else was. On the upside, it raised awareness for ALS, but the whole point was to get people to donate. Doing the Ice Bucket Challenge just to do it didn’t help the organization or the individuals stricken with ALS whatsoever. The harsh reality of the challenge was and still is if you didn’t put up money, you didn’t really do much for the cause. Everybody and their grandma had ALS videos all in their face all summer, so raising awareness wasn’t the issue.
While the challenge seemed harmless, it resulted in so many horrible things. There were literally hundreds of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge pranks, but the worst one came from Ohio. A 15 year old autistic boy believed that he was doing the Ice Bucket Challenge to help, but had feces, urine, and cigarette butts dumped all over him by other teenage boys who looked on, laughed, and recorded the incident. While it is not directly the association’s fault that this happened, it is still part of the Ice Bucket Challenge fad and should be something that everyone is aware of.
At the end of the day, the ALS Association has seen a 3,500 percent increase in donations from last year, and there’s no doubt in my mind it’s from the Ice Bucket Challenge. In retrospect, though, it is truly disappointing to see something that is meant to raise awareness and help victims of the disease result in no promises of how much money will go towards research and a cure, or knowing who really donated or who just wanted to be a part of the summer’s trend, and knowing that there are people out there who altered the challenge to make it something horrific. I can say that I’m glad that the ALS Association received an immense amount of help financially, but I can also say that I’m not very happy with how the Ice Bucket Challenge was perceived.