Take the ‘Challenge’ and be sure to donate, too

Bill Gates did it.

So did George Bush, as did Shakira and even one of Kauai’s famous visitors, Justin Bieber.

Should you take the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Yes. No. Depends.

Let’s explain.

We certainly support raising money for the ALS Association of the United States. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disorder, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig, “The Iron Horse,” was one of baseball’s all-time greats who played in 2,130 consecutive games, hit 493 home runs and won six World Series titles with the Yankees before ALS claimed his life in 1941 at the age of 37.

It is a fatal disease that slowly steals the body’s ability to function. Patients in the final stages of ALS can be completely paralyzed before their death. It is a cruel fate that we wish no one had to endure. 

This disease remains as deadly today as it was more than 70 years ago and has through the decades, received little attention, despite more than 5,000 people in the U.S. being diagnosed with it each year.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is providing much-needed publicity and money. The ALS Association, which funds research to try and find a cure of the disease, said it received nearly $42 million in donations from July 29 to Aug. 21. That’s far more than it usually receives, so it seems the challenge is effective. And that’s wonderful. 

It works like this. Basically, once you’re nominated for the challenge, you are supposesd to either donate to ALS, or dump ice water on your head. A lot of folks, millions, are going with the ice water and posting videos of themselves online. That’s all in good fun.

We hope those getting wet are still donating. Just dumping water on your head and posting it on Facebook is a nice way to get some attention, but that’s not really doing any good. Let’s remember, it’s not about us. It’s about those with ALS. It’s about finding treatments that work. It’s about finding a cure. 

It’s inspiring to see a nation rising behind this fundraiser and we encourage everyone to get involved. But one worry is, it seems the bigger deal now is the ice water, not the donation. In some videos, people don’t mention anything about donating to the ALS Association. And that’s the whole point. 

So, please, dump that water on your head and open your wallet, too. Perhaps folks are having fun with the Ice Bucket Challenge, calling out others, and then quietly making their donation. If so, we thank you. We also thank all of those who made their donation without much fanfare. We hope that when the fad and fun of the Ice Water Challenge is over and forgotten, people remember ALS is still out there and there is no cure. There are still thousands with ALS, who struggle against a relentless opponent that does not quit. So don’t forget, financial help is needed to fund the research into Lou Gehrig’s disease that we hope will lead to a cure. If you can give, please do. 

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