The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has turned out to be a massive hit.
The Internet trend to raise awareness for the fatal neurodegenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s disease, took off on July 29. This happened after the family of former Boston College baseball star Pete Frates embraced the challenge whereby one pours a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads and posts a video of this on social media.
Frates viral challenge has reportedly helped ALS Association receive more than $4 million in donations in the last two weeks - up from $1.12 million in the same time period last year.
Despite being a huge viral success, the absurd movement is being met with criticism – similar to popular “makeup-free selfie” trend that also received significant negative feedback even though it actually accomplished results.
“No wonder it took me weeks to learn the Ice Bucket Challenge was linked to ALS. Most of its participants, including Kennedy and Today’s Matt Lauer didn’t mention the disease at all. The chance to jump on the latest trend was an end in itself. In fact, the challenge’s structure seems almost inherently offensive to those touched by ALS,” stated a TIME article.
A Quartz.com blog found faults with the funding structure of the campaign:
“The key problem is funding cannibalism. That $3 million in donations doesn’t appear out of a vacuum. Because people on average are limited in how much they’re willing to donate to good causes, if someone donates $100 to the ALS Association, he or she will likely donate less to other charities.”
Nonetheless, the challenge is increasingly gaining momentum with A-list celebrities, politicians, sportsmen and tech world giants jumping on the bandwagon.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie:
Even President Barack Obama got in on the challenge after being nominated by Ethel Kennedy. But he respectfully declined to dump ice water on his head in favor of donating money to the ALS Association.
“The president appreciates Mrs. Kennedy thinking of him for the challenge – though his contribution to this effort will be monetary,” the White House told The Boston Globe. “The president will be making a donation to an ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) charity this week.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):
Tech giants – apparently – have participated more actively than others.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella:
Apple’s Tim Cook:
New England Patriots team: