The Ice Challenge: Not Just a Social Media Craze


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Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, and Mark Zuckerberg are one of the countless participants in the Ice Bucket Challenges for ACL awareness and research funding.

Melody Ra, Editor-In-Chief

Dumping ice water on one another is rapidly becoming a ubiquitous movement. A campaign to fund for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research, the Ice Bucket Challenges has also aroused public awareness concerning the gravity and rising prevalence of brain disorders. In fact, by the year 2025, a startling one in 25 American adults will be diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects the nerve cells within the spinal cord and brain, inflicting muscular movements throughout the body, and ultimately leading to paralysis.

The campaign initially proposed to challenge people to either give $100 to ALS or dump the ice water on their heads. Afterwards, they can challenge three other people to do the same. However, the escalating popularity of these videos has convinced many people to donate money to the cause, in addition to participating in this soaking activity.

With more than 2 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos streaming the Internet, among the most popular include highly influential people drenching themselves in icy water for this cause. Such video participants include Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and chief executive of the Gates Foundation Sue Desmond-Hellmann. Some have even implemented creative alternatives such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates who constructed a contraption to execute the water dumping on his head.

As of now, these neurodegenerative diseases have no cure; however, the Ice Bucket Challenge has successfully accrued millions of dollars on behalf of ALS research.

Due to the generous contributions, Project A.L.S. has been able to advance in modifying the first model of human ALS with the help of doctors from Harvard, John Hopkins, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia, and much more. The funding is also used to test the compatibility of drugs for cancer and diabetes with ALS. Furthermore, since ALS rarely affects the eyes, Project A.L.S. is attempting to examine the attributes that grant the eyes such protection, and hopefully apply the same principles to the vulnerable areas of the brain.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has sparked a “call to action” for many people, including Yorba Linda High School. Although individual YLHS students are constantly challenging one another via Instagram and other social media, Yorba Linda High School’s band was recently challenged to execute the icy stunt—as a class. As a result, the YLHS band dedicated August 20 of their summer camp to fulfill the challenge this week.

Hopefully, the Ice Bucket Challenge will continue to raise more money for the research of ALS. Perhaps the success of this campaign will inspire others to create similar methods of gaining support for other charities by inspiring people to make a personal difference in the world.