The amazing impact of the Ice Bucket Challenge

Mr. Otten (left) and Superintendent Rigg (right) about to get drenched as part of their Ice Bucket Challange

Mr. Otten (left) and Superintendent Rigg (right) about to get drenched as part of their Ice Bucket Challange

Unless you spent this past summer under a rock, you’re probably well aware of the hundreds of thousands of videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads that have been taking over the internet, and if you’re lucky you’re probably one of the people nominated to take part in this hysteria.

It’s the Ice Bucket Challenge, and for the past few months it has rocked the world like never before.

The challenge is you dump a bucket of ice water on your head, nominate three people you know to partake in the challenge, and donate money to The ALS Association. While many people have skipped the third part of the challenge, it still has done amazing things for the fight against ALS, and has left an impact worldwide.

Seemingly popping up out of nowhere, the challenge is said to have originated from a group of people in Boston, who have an ALS-stricken friend, who took the challenge, posted the video online, and it started spreading like wildfire. The great part about this is that it’s actual proof that the average person CAN make a huge difference if they set their mind to it.

So far, the challenge has helped raise over $108 million in donations to The ALS Association, a number that exceeds the amount the charity usually gets annually by five times!

“The word gratitude doesn’t do enough to express what we are feeling right now,” Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO, said of the donation amount. “We recognize a profound sense of urgency and are engaged in discussions about how we’re going to put this money to work in the short term and into the future.”

ALS, a shortened term for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal chord in such a way that the cells surrounding them destroy them and eventually causes them to lose the ability to move muscles throughout their body. The progressive deterioration of these nerve cells, called neurons, eventually leads to the death of the patient. Currently around 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed annually, and there are about two deaths per 100,000 population annually.

As far as ALS research goes, it is becoming less and less of a mystery for scientists. They only recently discovered that the cells supporting the neurons were the ones killing them.

The challenge has been hugely popular among celebrities, and many of them have found their own unique ways to donate to charity. Along with his donation, Charlie Sheen poured a bucket of money over his head instead of ice water. Microsoft founder Bill Gates did the challenge, using a contraption he built himself to pour the water on his head. To raise awareness for the hundreds of millions of people without clean drinking water, Matt Damon poured a bucket of toilet water on his head.

One of the many people that has participated in the challenge is Elder’s very own principal, Mr. Tom Otten.

“I was challenged by the superintendent and I agreed to it because it’s for a great cause, especially since some of our own students have been affected by it in their families.”

“The archdiocese doesn’t support the ongoing embryonic stem cell research involved in the treatment of ALS, but we do donate money to another organization. It goes to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.”

“Actually, a Catholic newspaper in North Carolina had a picture of superintendent Rigg and I doing the challenge at the top of the front page.”

Elder student Nicholas Conda said that he thinks that challenge does a lot of good for ALS, whether people donate money or not.

“I took the challenge because I think it’s a good way to raise awareness for ALS. I knew a few good people whose lives have been taken away by that terrible disease,” said Conda. “I think that the challenge is a good way to raise awareness for ALS. Even if people do the challenge and don’t donate money, they are still raising awareness and motivating other to donate money.”

Senior Nick Jamison took the challenge because he thought it was an all-around great idea.

“I decided to take the challenge because I knew that it would be a step closer to raising more awareness for the ALS Foundation, and I knew that it would be appreciated by all,” said Jamison. “Adam Vale nominated me for the challenge.”

“I think the challenge was a great idea. It was a fun thing to do, and it raised awareness for something that needed the people’s help. Also, it was funny seeing people get ice water poured on, especially the people I would never suspect to take on such a challenge. For ALS, this was their best year in terms of how much money they made, and this was all due to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Also, the challenge got people to actually post on Facebook, which they probably loved, too.”

Unfortunately, the Ice Bucket Challenge will eventually run its course and fade away into the past with every other fad that’s come and gone. But for now we should celebrate all of great things the challenge has done for ALS awareness and how much closer it will bring scientists to curing this deadly disease. So here’s to the Ice Bucket Challenge and all of the money it’s raised for a great cause!