MANILA, Philippines―Dousing yourself with a bucket of ice could make you feel cool but doing it for an advocacy is way cooler.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is making rounds on the internet as singer Justin Timberlake, multibillionaire Bill Gates, basketball player Lebron James, and thousands of netizens have been taking the challenge. The chilling invitation seeks to raise funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease which affects the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord and could result to total paralysis.
The rules of the chilling challenge are simple: you have to douse yourself with a bucket of ice and challenge other people to do the same or else, you have to donate to charities contributing to ALS prevention and research.
But before being a viral internet sensation, the first ice bucket challenge was not linked to any cause or advocacy. However, according to Time magazine, the first challenge which was directly linked to ALS was issued by Chris Kennedy from Florida state in the US on July 15. He nominated his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband Anthony is suffering from ALS.
Senerchia used the hashtags #takingiceforantsenerchiajr and #StrikeOutALS to support a baseball tournament to honor her husband Anthony.
From Senerchia, the challenge reached Pete Frates, a former baseball coach and international baseball player in Europe who has been diagnosed by ALS. The challenge went viral on the internet when Frates posted his video on July 31 using the hashtags #StrikeOutALS and #Quinnforthewin.
According to ALS Association (ALSA), it received an upsurge of donations on July 29 due to the video posted by Frates and by August 19, ALSA reported that it has received $22.9 million in donations coursed through 453,210 new donors.
ALSA said that when a person has ALS, the motor neurons on the spinal cord and the brain of the person progressively degenerate. When the neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. In the later stages of people having ALS, they may become totally paralyzed.
No cure has been discovered to stop or reverse ALS, but there are drugs which slow its progression. Also, the effects of ALS for each person vary as some people diagnosed with ALS reported that their ALS has ‘burned out’, progressed at a slow rate, or stopped completely.
In the Philippines, Gilas Pilipinas basketball team members took the ice bucket challenge and posted it on Instagram Tuesday.
Filipino boxer Nonito Donaire also took the challenge and raised $5,000 for ALS.