Ice Bucket Challenge! Really?

Nowadays the Ice Bucket Challenge is the in-thing. From CEOs to desis in India are jumping aboard this viral game. What is this Ice Bucket Challenge and why it is so popular?

Ice Bucket Challenge has been traditionally just dumping cold water as punishment if not donated for charity. Of course details could be found but I’m not looking for it as the Ice Bucket Challenge we are referring here is for ALS (in US) or MND (in UK).

ALS stands for  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which is a neurodegenerative disease which affects the motor activities of the body by weakening the neurons. MND stands for Motor Neurone Disease which is equivalent to ALS but it is considered as an umbrella which also contains ALS. (ALS has actually rose to same standard because of popularity now).

Who is affected by ALS/MND? It is said generally over 40s are affected and men are 50% more susceptible to it than women. The expected life expectancy of those is around 5 years but some tend to live longer – Stephen Hawking.

Why it became popular? Ice Bucket Challenge had been there for sometime but it became mainstream around June 2014 when Boston Baseball player Pete Frates started posting Ice Bucket challenges over social networking sites. He has been suffering from ALS about 3 years could not do it himself so he started challenging people with simple rules (not sure he set the rules but seems like below is followed):

  • You have to take up the challenge within 24 hours and record in a continuous video
  • You have to contribute to the ALS if not taken the challenge
  • You are exempted from charity if you take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Simple and fun! Being a star has perks and fans so lot of support was gathered. So initial videos flooded the social networks starting with “For Pete Frates” before dropping the ice-cold water over their heads. It did garner a lot of attention and many people started to know of ALS as a disease (I did for the first time).

Why did it became popular? Mark Zuckerberg did it, Justin Bieber did it, George W. Bush did it, Bill Gates did it, Tim Cook did it. Well they did both Ice Bucket Challenge and charity. I’m happy people are taking up cause and doing this but there is 1 simple reason I don’t like it – Wastage of water.

No one has bucket full of Ice in their refrigerator so either you buy it or make your own. After you fill your bucket with Ice, (you make a speech and let it melt) you just splash it over your head. Money being donated is a good thing but wasting water? Was it designed by someone willing to sell excess ice?

In India, where we crib for water shortage and even support party which funds free water, why are we taking this up in India? Don’t we have other water related diseases to worry about or even the pesticides in water and food? There are lot more diseases out there for which research is on. We all know active charity being done for Cancer (how many of you really care?) and now ALS (there may be others too). A recent outbreak of Ebola – any thoughts? If you really want or have will to do something just do it and don’t make a fuss about it and stop wasting resources. If you are India (specially in Delhi) please visit Khushiyan –  they seem to be doing a fantastic job.

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