Giving a Horrible Disease a Powerful Voice


Laura Mallon, Editor in Chief

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge made waves this summer raising over $4 million between July 29 and August 12. Moms, dads, grandparents, teens, celebrities, athletes all across the country spilled freezing cold buckets of ice water over their head to raise awareness for a horrific disease and challenged their friends and families to do the same.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, attacks the nervous system and motor skills and in some cases leaves victims completely paralyzed leading up to a tragic, premature death. The disease has no known cure and only limited forms of treatment that can only slow progression. Primary symptoms include difficulty breathing or swallowing and weakness in leg and arm muscles.

At first, many thought the campaign was silly and would be ineffective, but in the end it was a huge success raising tons of money. Those who took the challenge flooded social media with videos and photos, most of which were very entertaining. Videos of celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian with the help of Ellen DeGeneres, went viral. Even former President George W. Bush took the challenge and nominated his friend Bill Clinton. Others who were nominated and chose not to accept the challenge opted to donate, which led to over two million new donors this summer.

The challenge started amongst a group of semi-professional sports players for example Chris Kennedy, a minor-league golfer. Eventually the challenge made its way to the “Quinn for the Win” Facebook page, designed to raise awareness for ALS victim Pat Quinn. From there the campaign took off. Thousands laughed and smiled with loved ones while encouraging others to also contribute to an important cause. The Ice Bucket Challenge gave a horrible disease a powerful and very positive voice.