ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Changing Lives One Bucket at a Time

9 years ago Leighest 0

By Risa Mond

“You have 24 hours, good luck!”- A simple phrase sweeping the nation and changing lives one bucket at a time. The ALS ice bucket challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness/funds for the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS or often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive disease that affects nerve cells in the spiral cord and brain. This results to difficulty speaking, swallowing, moving, and eventually breathing. The ALS ice bucket challenge consists of someone being “challenged” or “dared” to either donate money to the ALS foundation, pour a bucket of ice water on themselves, or both. The person who is “challenged” states what he is doing, posts a video to Facebook, and then challenges three other people giving them 24 hours to complete the task.

The challenge started to receive a great deal of publicity in Massachusetts with former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with the illness in 2012. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness, loss of the use of arms and legs and difficulty speaking, breathing and swallowing. According to the ALS Association, the ice bucket challenge has raised over $110.5 million, increasing its donations by 3,500 percent.

There are many opinions as to whether or not the ice bucket challenge is affective or not. Some say that because you have an option to not donate, it defeats the whole purpose of the challenge. I would respectfully disagree with those opinions. Some might not donate, but many people do! This disease affects many people, but hitting close to home is Yitzi Hurwitz. Hurwitz, Director of Chabad in Temecula in California, is battling this horrible disease. Every day, new challenges arise as this disease slowly attacks. Hurwitz, his wife, and seven children battle courageously the consequences coming from this disease. The Hurwitz Family Fund was created to help the Hurwitz family going through the struggles accompanying this disease. According to COLive, Hurwitz wrote in an email, “…as crazy these ice bucket challenge videos seem, they have brought me so much joy. It’s them [shluchim] saying ‘Yitzi, we love you, we won’t give up on you.’ With this kind of support, so much love between brothers, HaShem has to send a total refuah.”

Even if someone does not donate but still does the challenge, they are spreading awareness. Pouring ice water is a way of spreading awareness without the financial aspect some spectators can’t bare. But it is their publicizing of this horrible disease that teaches people who might not have known about this. I know for a fact I had no clue about ALS until this challenge, and neither did most of my friends. Even though I was not able to donate, I challenged three people, who challenged three people, who challenged three people, and so on. I helped keep the chain going on throughout the world, me, a 16 year old girl living in Plano, Texas. I made a difference in the world just by pouring water on my head and spreading awareness.