I took the Ice Bucket Challenge and Here’s Why

I hate facebook challenges. Remember that one with the giraffe? Remember how annoying it got? Remember if it was to raise awareness for a cause? It wasn’t. It was just there to annoy you. Or “purple” and “couch” updates? Yeah, that’s even more tragic. It was for breast cancer awareness. Vaguebooking for breast cancer may be one of the top ten stupid things facebookers do. And that is stiff competition. So there it is. I judge facebook games and social media awareness campaigns that use these games.

But I judge them because they fail.

When I saw the ice bucket challenge at first, I didn’t watch them. I ignored them with the rest. But then someone commented on an unrelated thread that it was for ALS.org. And as someone who does care about non-profits, I paid attention.

And then they raised $4 million.

And Robert Downey Jr did it.

And then they raised $10 million.

And Bill Gates did it.

And then I got challenged.

Then I saw that Obama refused, but still donated to an undisclosed ALS charity.

By that point, I noticed my annoyance evolved into admiration. A well-graded charity and good cause got really lucky by a crazy idea that was crazy enough to work.

However, along with my growing admiration, the haters were now coming out. And many friends were among those haters. My husband said if I called him out, he wouldn’t do it. Many friends were on his side. And this is what I want to talk about.

I get it. It’s vanity. It wastes water. It’s not really raising awareness. But none of that is the complete truth.

1. It’s vanity. So what? Facebook is vanity. Most of our updates are selfies for no reason at all. Yesterday, I showed off my old haircut. It wasn’t even new! Is that okay but showing that pic for a cause is vanity? Okay, then let it be. Someone vainly gave money. I know when I handed a check to a non-profit accountant, they never asked if the person did a selfie with the check first. They took the check. And then that check helped someone.

2. It wastes water. You ever been to a gala fundraiser? I’ve been to a few that raised about 3% of what this challenge has raised. And I can safely assume it wasted a lot more water…and food and resources and money and time.

3. It doesn’t raise awareness. I did the challenge with a few friends. Two of them are sports fans who wore these jerseys for which I don’t know the team [update: New Orleans Saints]. And they told me a lot about ALS and about sportsmen who were diagnosed. And how it affects people. And how it is incurable. And they told me about Steve Gleason. My awareness was raised. I only knew it was a disease before that night and now I know symptoms, resources, and heroes who survive with it and heroes who care for them.

So. I took the challenge.

But, as someone who has volunteered for some struggling organizations, I felt like it was time to spread the wealth. And since I usually ignore a challenge, I felt I had a right to alter it. So. My chosen charity changed to Foundation Beyond Belief.

Here is my challenge.

And here is a man who took the challenge with much more grace than myself and a lot less cover. Steve Gleason.


I’m grateful to be a part.


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