Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

One day, I happened to see a picture of a person pouring a bucket full of water on himself, on a footpath with people around him cheering loudly. The lines next to the picture read, “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. This pic was taken somewhere in the US. I just smiled and moved to a different story, thinking, there is no dearth of crazy people in this world. Next day, I happen to see a similar picture in the newspaper of a different individual, in a different city, in a different country. This gentleman was drenching himself with ice water and people around him were clapping and cheering him. The title next to this picture read, “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”. Now this surprised me a bit, as I was seeing the same phenomena, out again at a different location. I thought of it as trivial and moved my attention elsewhere. While browsing the net the other day, I happened to see the same spectacle, where some of the Indian film stars were pouring ice cold water and getting drenched, some of the fellow stars applauding their bravado. This time I really took notice of it and delved more to understand this epidemic of sorts.

These audacious actions were actually performed, to generate funds for the research of a dreadful disease, which was an unknown entity so far. This disease is known as ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Its is also referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease" It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This can render the affected person severely paralyzed for life. I have closely seen its impact on one of my family member who finally succumbed to this deadly disease. It becomes imperative to let the world know about it, and to generate funds to carry out research, to help get a cure for this otherwise unknown disease. What is striking is, the novel way of letting people know about it and in turn generate funds for its research. No doubt, it has been a successful campaign so far and would continue in longer run. This innovative way of bringing to attention a serious health hazard in a funny way is worth applauding. It had a cascading effect, and more and more people around the world are participating in the challenge, and doing their bit for a noble cause. This has already brought in lots of funds, with the help of donations people have made.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Generating Funds
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - Generating Funds
 There have been many such campaigns for various causes in the past. The campaign run by many, for the ethical treatment of animals (PETA) worldwide caught everyone’s attention, more so because of the way it was campaigned. Models, working women, young and old, stripped to bare minimum to announce we would prefer going naked but not use fur or garments made from fur. They wanted to bring to the fore, the way animals worldwide were being slaughtered for their fur for making clothes. Some even caged themselves to show the plight of animals in captivity. Their way to shock, to get attention paid rich dividends and their cause got a voice which could not go unheard. There have been many instances in the past, wherein people have used unheard and unusual ways to have their voices heard. In the recent past in Kerala, India some women lawyers stripped to highlight the rape cases across India. They stood in the middle of the road, with passersby visibly shocked to see this audacious move by these women. There have been many such cases across the world where people have taken to unconventional or rather bold ways to bring to notice the issues faced by many. Whether all the campaigns succeed or not are debatable, but one thing is for sure, they do bring in a lot of awareness among the people, which is good.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, following the unconventional way of promoting issues, has garnered huge support worldwide. Looking at the support it can be said, it has been a successful campaign so far. Hat’s off to these mavericks that come up with such innovative ideas to highlight serious issues in a lighter way. My best wishes to the campaign. Its time to head for a Ice Bucket Challenge, here I gooooo, and YOU?

Please note: Regions with extreme scarcity of water, do not practice it, instead you can make donations to the cause as per your capacity. 

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