How the Ice Bucket Challenge is Good for Everyone

I think that all of us who have visited the Internet lately have seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Many of us have even been invited to join in, or face donating money to benefit ALS research efforts, and the search for a cure. ALS, (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is like MS, in that it is another form of ‘sclerosis’. This means that they are basically related diseases, maybe cousins. They are very different in some ways, and at the same time have quite a few symptoms that crossover and affect people with either one or the other. This makes the challenge and awareness it is bringing to ALS and all other forms of sclerosis very personal for those of us living with MS I think. I know it has felt very personal for me, and I am pleased to see people not only dumping icy water over their heads, but also donating to research. The donations will be a wonderful step in helping to someday find a cure for ALS, and hopefully in doing so, finding a cure for all related diseases, including MS!

This challenge has also done something amazing which everyone who deals with a lesser known disease understands and appreciates a lot, and that is bring awareness on a very public level, to the masses. That is something that is quite uncommon in the world of diseases such as MS and ALS. Cancer, diabetes and heart disease are all well known, and receive lots of money that is donated for research, not to mention global awareness. While I would never wish any funding, etc. be taken away from any of these worthy diseases, it is nice to see the spotlight on something that could really use it, but doesn’t often get it.

So, recently I’ve had a lot of friends who have been talking with me about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Mostly they’re talking about it with everyone, because it has essentially taken over our Facebook news feeds and social media in general. At this point, a few weeks in and ice being dumped everywhere you look while people scream out in shock and nominate friends and family to do the same thing, there are a lot of people who are “over this trend”. Many of my friends are commenting that for one reason or another they don’t want to see any more of these challenge videos. I respectfully disagree with those who are of that opinion, as I see nothing but positive benefits from the sharing of videos and the donations being made to an extremely worthy cause. While I understand the argument that it has “taken over” I think most aren’t able to see why that is such a huge deal. For someone living with MS like myself (and most of you who will go on to read this post), it means a lot to me to see people learning about just how debilitating these unseen illnesses can be. ALS, just like MS, can obviously have clear physical signs and symptoms, which are easily recognized by family, friends and even strangers. But often it does not, and so this brings to light what it can mean to be dealing with an invisible illness and/or debilitating pain all of the time.

I think what I’m going for here is that there will always be those who find something negative to say about any trend or campaign, no matter what it is. But I’m proud to say that my husband and I not only participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but we donated money and did our best to spread awareness for ALS, MS, and all of the debilitating cousins and sclerosis’ out there. The more people know, and the more educated we can make everyone, the more money that will be raised to help battle the diseases we deal with daily. And hopefully all of this will someday lead to a cure, and then we will just have to dump ice water on our heads for fun, not awareness. I’ll definitely be signed up for that good time!

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Comments

View Comments (5)
  • Mare
    5 years ago

    I actually had to refuse the challenge from someone. Simply because I am over 50 and am going through temperature extremes due to MS and menopause. My hypothalmus isn’t working correctly anymore and I do not need to suffer through anymore temperature EXTREMES than I have to. I do not think anyone with MS has to accept this if they do not want to. Sorry to be the negative one on this!

  • Nikki Kennedy author
    5 years ago

    No need to do the actual challenge if for any reason you find it wouldn’t be in your best interest (for your health especially). I don’t think anyone has to accept the challenge at all, my point in this post was that the whole thing has not only brought awareness for ALS, which most people didn’t even know about, but all autoimmune diseases, including MS. You’ve got a good point, and I’m glad you didn’t harm yourself while doing a challenge you knew wouldn’t bode well for you and your body.

  • Theater Geek
    5 years ago

    I’ve done the challenge but on top of ALS mentioned MSstation.org, MSAA, and The Dragonflies of Chrildrens Hospital in Cinci because I have a friend battling a childhood cancer at the age of 24. It’s worth doing even if to just let people know ALS and MS are out there. I was talking a lady that didn’t know what ALS was other than Lou Gehrigs. It was a change to talk about both illnesses. I would have loved to have seen MS included in Jerry Louis’s MD telethon (before the kicked him off of it) he did include ALS in the later ones.

    And speaking of reasons not to I think the one I laughed about was the one claiming it was an Illuminati fire and ice ritual done before sacrifice and it was ushering in the Anti-Christ and the rein of the goddess Isis. That one was eyebrow raising…and it was a “minister” that claimed that…but she only has a YouTube ministry and a website sooo…

  • Theater Geek
    5 years ago

    Thank you for a wonderful article like this! And wow…Holy Typos Batman!! My comment had them everywhere!!! >.<

  • Nikki Kennedy author
    5 years ago

    Theater Geek,
    I agree, it’s about awareness. Anything we can do to let people know about diseases like MS, ALS, any of the lesser knowns out there, is a good enough reason to videotape ourselves getting doused with ice water! Thanks for bringing awareness to all that you have.

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