Ice, ice baby

It seems like everyone in celebrity-land is jumping on the ice challenge bandwagon at the moment, with a raft of famous faces taking part in a soggy challenge in the name of a good cause.

And it has to be said: Bill Gates has geekified the whole thing and taken it to a new level.

Do I detect a spot of deja vu? Didn’t we already do that here? OK, so our watery warriors were acting in the name of the Cancer Foundation and the northern hemisphere Johnny-come-latelys are raising awareness of ALS, but you get my drift.

For anyone who may have been residing under a rock for the last little while, the ice bucket challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water on your head to promote awareness, and to encourage people to donate to the cause. If you do the challenge, you also get to nominate others.

Celebrities have taken to it like the proverbial duck to (icy) water and the ice bucket challenge has exploded on social media.

Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of grumbling about it all online, with complaints about it being a waste of water, the whole slacktivism argument and reminders that we’d be better off just donating to the cause.

While I usually agree with anyone who pokes a sharp stick at slacktivism, in this case I reckon it’s pretty inoffensive. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or motor neurone disorder, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is a terrible illness that offers little more than a grim and short life for those diagnosed with it. Every muscle in the body eventually atrophies until the sufferer dies

Awful, truly awful.

A friend of my in-law’s died from this disease and each time they visited her they saw her struggle more and more just to swallow, to speak. Just to breathe.

It’s also relatively rare, so anything that raises awareness has got to be a good thing. Awareness means there is more chance of research, and the more research there is, the better the chance of one day finding a cure and/or prevention.

While I’d like to hear that all those well-paid celebs uploading their cutsie videos are also chucking a few dollars at the research fund, I can’t feel to peeved about them putting the spotlight on this disease.

Slacktivism normally bugs the living crap out of me, particularly when it’s done via Facebook or other social media sites. You know what I mean: the stupid, pointless status updates about how there are people in this world with [insert illness/fear/whatever here] and how if you are brave enough you’ll copy and paste this post into your own status to show your support. Ooooh, yes, very supportive.

Or the equally stupid, equally pointless cryptic updates that involve mention of the colour of your undies, or some outrageous statement about being knocked up to raise awareness of breast cancer but with the warning to not let the men in your life in on the secret, just to make it fun. Um, sure. Because we all know breast cancer’s fun, right? And cryptic messages that we keep secret from half the population? What an awesome way to raise awareness.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

The ice bucket challenge is raising awareness. Let’s just hope it also raises some cash.

Oh, and really northern hemisphere dudes, us Kiwis were a tad tougher about the whole thing, it being the middle of winter and all!


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