• Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Are you ready for the #IceBucketChallenge?

Dyuty Auronee

It's too hot in here. Let's down a bucket of ice water on ourselves. Okay? Not okay.
Well, global warming is not why this viral sensation, which has used the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge, has attracted thousands of people, including celebrities, who eagerly dropped frozen ice on themselves and issued the challenge to others.

This is in fact an initiative to raise awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which is a disease of the nerve cells and spinal cord that controls voluntary muscle movement. Those who suffer from the disease experience partial or full paralysis along with difficulties in speaking, breathing and swallowing. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to loss of lives. Most commonly, ALS strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70.

The ice bucket challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water, recording and posting the clip on social media and then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Nominated people can either complete the challenge within 24 hours or they will have to donate $100 to the ALS Foundation. They could however choose to do or ignore both. Though highly debated, the most relevant theory of using buckets of ice water as a platform for ALS awareness came from former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2012. Together with fellow ALS patient Pat Quinn, he began to challenge people through social networks to live up to the dare. Pat's brother Dan posted a video on the charity's Facebook page in support of the challenge.

In the last few weeks, along with the masses, celebrities have associated themselves with the cause, which has resulted in one of the strongest viral sensations in Facebook's history. Footballers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi; musicians like Adam Levine, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga; actors like Chris Hemsworth; tech personalities such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and social icons such as Oprah Winfrey and George W. Bush were a few of the participants.

Among the commonly known faces in Bangladesh, Korvi Rakshand, the founder of JAAGO, has taken the challenge by not pouring water on himself but by relaying a video message to donate for the cause. If you want to rise up to the trending challenge, you might as well keep a few points in mind. If you dump ice in the bucket immediately before dumping it on yourself, that is not ice water. Pour the ice and leave it for 30 minutes. Get a friend to record you on a phone/camera or use your front video camera. Post the video on social media. Use the hashtags #IceBucketChallenge or #StrikeOutALS for maximum reach. Then, call out three friends who you challenge to do it next. In case you are sceptical about water usage, you can help spread ALS awareness by sharing information about this disease via social media. Or you can make a donation instead at www.alsa.org/donate.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has also received quite a bit of criticism. Some say that you can avoid making the donation if you douse yourself, which is somewhat contradictory to the cause. In one version of the challenge, the participant is expected to donate $10 if they have poured the ice water over their head or donate $100 if they have not. However, till date the ALS Association had passed the $50 million mark in donations which is higher than any of the previous years.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, August 28, 2014

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