The Raging Ice Bucket Challenge – Of Caring for Others

Ice Bucket Challenge
Ice Bucket Challenge

Ice Bucket Challenge

The last few days, the Internet has gone viral with many people, including celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Justin Bieber, Oprah Winfrey, Ronaldo and many others uploading their videos on networking sites, taking up the Ice Bucket Challenge. Like we say, whatever the cause, good or bad, we Indians are very good in aping the West. Many Indian celebrities have also joined the bandwagon of Ice Bucket challengers.

What are Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS?

In this challenge, the participant must dump a bucket of ice-cold water over his head and he has to challenge three others to do the same. They have to accept the challenge within 24 hours of the uploading of the video in social networking sites. If they can’t, then they have to contribute 100$ to the ALS association, which is involved in scientific research for the cure and prevention of ALS. The motive behind the challenge is to increase the awareness of the disease ALS, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

This is a serious neurodegenerative disease in which the nerve cells in the brain (upper motor neurons) and the spinal cord (lower motor neurons) are affected. In the US, it is referred as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS can affect people of any age. ALS initially starts with weakness or spasticity in an arm or leg, then gradually spreads from one part of the body to another, resulting to immobility and paralysis and finally to death.

The question that arises now is how ALS is associated with the Ice Bucket Challenge? The Ice Bucket Challenge was actually suggested by a friend of Pete Frates, a US baseball player and ALS patient, and the idea of the challenge spread on a social networking site. Such is the power of viral marketing that after Frates’ appeal, the challenge was talked about more than 2.2 million times on Twitter since 29th July 2014. And on Facebook, more than 1.2 million videos were shared from July till mid-August.

How can India stay behind?

When our country too needs solutions to various problems, including various life-threatening diseases, how can we lag behind? We have to do what others are doing. This goes for Ice Bucket Challenge as well. Not very sure how fruitful will it be to raise funds but most of the celebrities are taking up the challenge, including Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Siddharth Malhutra, Yuvraj Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, Saniya Mirza, Daler Mehndi, Bipasha Basu, among others. For them, they are doing it for a good cause. Leaving aside the celebrities, 10 Gurgaon executives have also taken up Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS cause.

Can Indians raise funds for a health problem?

This method of fund-raising is actually quite fun and ALS Association has so far been successful in raising $22.9 million in donations since July 29 when it first started. During the same period last year, the total amount raised was $1.9 million, 10 times less than the present amount.

India too has a large number of health problems and diseases to tackle with. There are lots of voluntary organisations, charity organisations in India involved in fund raising for a good cause. But leaving aside the corporate world, the rich, creamy layer of the society, the rich businessmen, not all Indians are capable nor are they willing to donate money for a health cause.

When we want to donate money for a health cause, the first thing that comes to our mind is which health cause to choose. The choice is not always rational. We may like to help someone who has been suffering from a similar disease that had affected a loved one of ours. At that time, we are not bothered about the type of illnesses. At times we are not concerned about the impact of the health problem and donate some money because others are doing it. Sometimes we donate not as a moral responsibility but due to celebrities’ appeal . For instance, we have “Being Human” products sold in the market and people are willing to buy these products because it is an NGO run by Salman Khan.

The fun concept in fund raising is actually a good example as in the case of the Ice Bucket Challenge. It is reported that after the super success of ALS Association, other organisations are trying to come up with more creative fun ideas to raise funds.

Indians too can follow such an example. The Ice Bucket Challenge can be taken up not as fun challenge but as a noble cause associated with it. Let’s take one grave health problem in mind, challenge others for the Ice Bucket Challenge and if they don’t agree to take up the task, they should donate some amount of money to the organisation dealing with preventing or reducing that health problem of our country. Sounds interesting, isn’ it?

Related Information:

Rice Bucket Challenge