ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

To understand the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, one must first understand ALS and the goal of the Ice Bucket Challenge. ALS, short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is also known as “Lou Gehrig's Disease” when the disease became popular due to a famous baseball player named Lou Gehrig who was affected by it. 

ALS is a disease whereby the patient’s nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord begin to degenerate and weaken progressively until eventually the body is paralysed. When motor neutrons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost and voluntary muscle action will be progressively affected. Patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralysed leading to inability to breathe, eventually resulting in death. When the motor neutrons slowly begin to degenerate, they will lose their ability to send impulses to the muscle fibre that will usually trigger the muscle fibre to begin muscle movement. Patients suffering with ALS for a long period of time will eventually begin to have thinner limbs.

It is estimated that about 2 out of 100,000 people will die of ALS and they are expected to live 2-5 years from the time of diagnosis. ALS can occur to anyone at anytime, of any race, gender or ethnicity. However, 5 - 15% of ALS cases are directly inherited from parents. It is estimated that 100,000 people die of ALS in a year. Last year, only 28 percent of the $100 million USD that the ALS Association raised was used on research. The rest of the 79 percent was spent on services and programs. 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was created to raise awareness and to get donations to fund the ALS Association. The Ice Bucket challenge has been a social media sensation, grabbing attentions of million celebrities and political figures. 

Unfortunately, every pro has its own cons and so does the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It has strayed from it’s original purpose of raising awareness and has been abused, for example :

  • Some has mentioned and had partially proven a point that the donations we had contributed mostly goes more to “ Advertising and Promotions ”, this is to a certain degree accurate as it is the case with non-profit organisations. 

  • Secondly, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has changed from a “raising awareness charity program”  to just a “vanity project”. Some people will do this in order to obtain more attention as well as fans and followers rather than spreading awareness or donating for a good cause

By funding ALS, it takes donations away from other organisations. There are several opinions varying from one person to the next, especially in different perspectives in which we view current issues.

Written by Alicia Koh, Grace Sim and Lydia Leong

Photograph | efdixon from Flickr


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