Alright everyone, just chill out about this ice bucket challenge. Just because Major Leaguers, execs and correspondents on the NBC’s “TODAY,” and seemingly every other person on the face of the YouTube globe are doing it, doesn’t mean that you should. Well, right? Two of my friends had this very same debate on that most civilized of platforms: Facebook.
My first reaction to the viral videos was, “Meh. Another viral campaign good cause thingy.” And I’m not alone in my hesitance to support a viral trend that puts an awful lot of attention on the giver and not the receiver. But my friend in the middle makes a good point. While we are regrettably a long way away from a cure from this horrific illness, the #IceBucketChallenge creates empathy. By dowsing oneself with ice cold water, one gets a chance to experience – however briefly – a symptom of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. More than by donating and by sympathizing, ice bucket challengers build a bridge with those on the margins of society. For those immobilized and alienated by ALS (or cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s…), such bridges can be conduits of life and grace. I guess that it would be a shame to disparage such bridge-builders, wouldn’t it?
For ways that you can donate time, talent, or treasure for the sake of those suffering from ALS, please go to the ALS Association website here.
Cover Image Ice Bucket, Flickr User Cedrick Ledesma, Flickr Creative Commons, available here.