What really needs to happen with the ice bucket challenge

by Steffi Lee, editor in chief

Most likely you’ve seen it on your social media feeds or at least heard about it.

It’s the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, focused on raising money and awareness about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

While viral social media campaigns can cause awareness of many issues, there are many aspects we need to remember if we take part in them.

For those who participated in this social media awareness campaign, I applaud you. I just hope you covered your bases on both ends and donated money while raising awareness.

I’ve heard differing opinions regarding the Ice Bucket Challenge. Some say it completely helps raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease. Others argue pouring water and ice over your head does nothing.

I look at it this way – if you want to take part in the social media campaign, go for it. You’re engaging with a community that’s passionate about a disease affecting many people and their families. I truly believe you’re making a difference, but only as long as you’re making sure to do research about what Lou Gehrig’s disease is and donating to the organization.

If you’re only dumping some ice and cold water on your head, I don’t think you’re doing much. Sure, you’re now part of the conversation that’s being sparked about Lou Gehrig’s, but I don’t think it helps to stop there and not donate to finding a cure for this horrible disease.

Will the Ice Bucket Challenge lead to researchers finding a cure to ALS? Maybe. The Boston Globe staff reported the ALS Association has raised $94 million as of last Wednesday, which may mean medical researchers can now have the proper funding they need to find better treatments for ALS. ALS destroys motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which eventually leads to more paralysis and then death. Maybe one day, researchers will find a promising cure to this, but we all know it needs to be more than just some ice and some water from a bucket. Actually educate yourself, donate money and make sure you extend beyond some funny video that may go viral on social media.