Ice Bucket Challenge Spreads ALS Awareness

The  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over social media users’ newsfeeds as users across popular networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were inspired to dump cold buckets of ice over their heads for a good cause. What began as a way to raise awareness about ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that effects nerve cells in the brain, has developed into a fad that has social media networks looking damp.

Amanda Wallis, sophomore, is one of many participants that completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and donated to als.org. Wallis said one of her motives for completing the challenge was to help spread awareness for ALS.

“I wanted to spread awareness because a lot of people don’t know about the cause. It is always good to get the word out there, and the more people who help out the better it is for those who suffer from this disease,” Wallis said.

Online users who engage in the challenge are prompted to dump a cold bucket of ice water over their heads within a 24-hour time-frame once nominated. In their videos, users are supposed to mention the person who nominated them to complete the challenge, then challenge three more people to do the same. Typically, users have encouraged one another to donate to an ALS chapter as well as dump ice water over their heads.

Claire Meidenbauer, junior, said the challenge has taken over her social media news-feeds.

“The challenge has blown up all over social media websites like Yahoo, Facebook and Youtube. The enthusiasm is really helping draw attention to this cause,” Meidenbauer said.

Meidenbaeur said she was glad to see social media was used for a positive cause. She said that she felt other people’s willingness to participate and donate was likely making others feel compelled to do the same.

While some online users were inspired to participate for a good cause, others realized the importance of this challenge in a more intimate way. For Amarra Zehms, freshman, this cause hit home.

Both Zehms’ grandfather and uncle suffer from ALS. So for Zehms, supporting this cause was a no-brainer.

“I did the challenge for the sake of donating. Donating is the first step in helping the researchers who will hopefully find the cure,” Zehms said.

Zehms is optimistic that the donations made as a result of the challenge will change the future for those who suffer from ALS.

Als.org stated that from July 29, 2014 to Aug. 12, four million dollars was generated in donations for ALS, compared to 1.12 million dollars worth that was generated during the same time period the previous year. According to theepochtimes.com, that number has increased since Aug. 12, 2014. A report from Sept. 1 stated that donations for ALS reached over 100 million dollars.

It seems that these numbers are indication that Ice Bucket challenge participants helped increase awareness for ALS exponentially from a result of their donations. The challenge made those that suffer from the disease anything but invisible.

 

By: Caroline Chalk

cchal845@uwsp.edu

About Anyon Rettinger

Anyon Rettinger
I am a senior at UW-Stevens Point studying communication with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in vocal performance music. As the co-editor-in-chief, I write editorials occasionally and focus my energy into managing the staff and administrative work. Away from The Pointer, I am the PR Director of the UWSP chapter of PRSSA, a campus tour guide, work as a communication and marketing specialist and a social media marketing consultant for CREATE Portage County. In my free time (not much), I listen to a lot of music, learn songs on piano, create graphics and digital content, and blog. I travel when I can and like to think I am a good photographer (check out my Instagram, @i.am.anyon). Follow my social media platforms to learn more about me and my work!

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