Among the latest trends of the summer is something called the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge, a fun way to raise money and awareness of what is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spine. The motor neurons in those parts of the body spread to the rest of the body which eventually results in the degeneration of the nerves in the infected person, continuing until death. Also, this means that as the person’s body is degenerating, daily activities, rapidly coming to a stop. Something normal such as walking becomes very difficult and soon is not even possible.

The frigid challenge typically involves different ways of dumping a bucket of cold water over your head and/or donating money to the ALS foundation.

There is a concern that people are participating for fun and not actually donating money to the cause, making the challenge useless. On the other hand, what these ignorant people are not realizing is that every ice bucket video that is shared on Facebook is another person becoming aware of the disease who may be opening up their wallets to help.

Last summer, according to an article in Forbes, the ALS foundation had raised a little under $3 million, but with the ice bucket challenge, ALS awareness spread like rapid fire, bringing in a whopping $100 million. That’s an incredible increase of about 3500%. For those out there who cannot see what this challenge is really all about, there’s your answer.

The ALS challenge media craze is an international sensation. Videos are being posted all the way from Israel. Some have even been interrupted by sirens warning its citizens of incoming Gazan missiles, leaving the challenge to be continued at another time.

Even people with the disease are taking part in the videos. The videos are very entertaining to watch, which makes donating to the cause a priority on someone’s to-do list. The challenge is peer-based and ranges from all ages. Some videos are clever and funny to watch, such as Charlie Sheen’s video in which he poured a bucket of $10,000 in cash he was donating over his head. YouTube even has hilarious blooper videos of challenges gone wrong.

Unfortunately, as the summer comes to an end, so do everyone’s spirits about the ice bucket challenge. People are getting ready for autumn, and suddenly the thought of dumping a bucket of ice water over their head just isn’t as appealing as it was in the hot, blistering summer sun. People are going to let this challenge dwindle, and pretty soon, the next big challenge will be racing around the Internet, reaching across the world and back again.

It would be great to have more trends like these videos because there are many diseases that go unnoticed by the public due to lack of awareness, and research has to be halted or setback for lack of funds. Every little bit counts. If a million people donated a dollar or two toward a cause, that’s $1 million or so that the association receives. Raising money can be fun, and it brings communities together. Raising awareness about things that often get pushed to the back of people’s minds, such as ALS, cancer, or a fallen community is important. If you find yourself ever wanting to donate to this cause, visit alsa.org, and from there, it provides details about the disease, research and ways to donate.

Email Jennifer Greenberg at jennifer.greenberg@cardinalpointsonline.com

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