The Ice Bucket Challenge Is The Viral Idea That’s Soaking People For A Charitable Cause

Where things like the fire challenge or any of those ghost pepper challenges are just dumb for no reason, the ice bucket challenge is dumb for a great cause. People are pouring ice buckets over their heads and challenging others to do the same all in the name of battling ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. You’ve probably heard about it by now or have seen someone doing it on Facebook or television, but the story behind it is a nice one. From ABC News:

The fundraising phenomenon asks those willing to douse themselves to challenge others to do the same within 24 hours. If they don’t, they must make a donation to a certain charity. Each person who participates nominates more friends, who nominate more friends, who nominate still more friends, which explains why the trend has exploded.

The months-old movement has taken the Boston area by storm over the last 10 days, since friends and relatives of former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates used it to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease. Frates was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease, also known as ALS, in 2012. Frates, 29, is now paralyzed, eats through a feeding tube and cannot talk.

On Thursday, his parents, Nancy and John Frates, joined 200 people who doused themselves in Copley Square. The couple said the ice bucket challenge has done more to increase understanding about ALS than anything they’ve done over the past two years.

“Who knew all it would take was a bag of ice and a bucket?” John Frates told the crowd, just before participants simultaneously poured 9-quart buckets of ice water over their heads.

Many celebrities have taken part in the challenge, including Martha Stewart, Matt Lauer, and Sidney Crosby, with countless others taking part in videos and events all across the country. One Google search reveals dozens that you can peruse through.

The rules are pretty simple. Fill a bucket with ice water, have a friend film you dumping it on your head and mentioning the ALS charity, and then post it to social media challenging three friends to do the same. It’s like a pyramid scheme, but not as shady.

But even if people aren’t taking part in the challenge, the campaign has had an effect on donations. The challenge has helped to raise $160,000 for the national ALS Association in a ten day period, up from a little over $14,000 a year ago. From Mashable:

But challenge accepted or not, people are donating anyway. A representative from the ALS Association told Mashable that

the organization saw nearly a fourfold increase in donations at the national office of The ALS Association between July 26 and Aug. 6 compared to the same period last year.

Donations specifically between Aug. 4 and Aug. 6 have been 10 times higher compared to the same time period in 2013, the spokesperson added.

It’s always nice to see people doing something for a good cause. I’ll take this over the cinnamon challenge any day.

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(Via ABC News / Mashable / Today / Mix 104.1 )