Aug 30, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge -- Is It Really Serving The Purpose?

The Ice Bucket Challenge that has gone viral for the past few days needs no introduction – with actors, musicians, TV celebs, sportsmen, politicians and businessmen as well as common folks posting videos of them getting doused in ice cold water, we all probably know about it now.

But do we all really know what it is about? Very few of the people going under bucketfuls of chilled water have mentioned that all of it is for a cause and for charity. They just seem to be having fun and challenging their friends to do the same. And common people waste no time in aping them.

And some of us those who know that the ice bucket ritual is for ALS, do we really know what ALS is? It is a neurodegenerative disease which affects a person’s nerve cells situated in the brain as well as spinal cord. This disease impairs the motor neurons’ ability to send impulses to muscles, which in turn leads to the muscles becoming immobile. Finally, it causes loss of movement, speech, swallowing and sometimes even breathing, and the affected person dies of it.

As of now, there is no cure or even treatment which can reverse or halt ALS. There are people who have been living with for years while some have had a quicker degeneration and have died. There are many clinical trials under progress to help people suffering from ALS and the Ice Bucket Challenge began with the aim of raising awareness about the disease and encouraging people to donate money to organizations helping ALS patients and carrying out research for treatment of ALS.

However, people posting videos on social networking sites seem to be having a lot of fun with the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has also been slammed as wastage of water by many critics. And they are not wrong, either- In a country like ours, where clean drinking water is not available to many people, it is definitely a waste. Maybe people can just go ahead and donate money to some organization working for ALS patients instead. 


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