What will bathing, well not bathing, just dumping a bucket of water, which has some ice in it, achieve? Oh wait, you also put the act up online for tens to millions to view, depending on people you could pitch it to. Well important thing, the bathing, given the public display, is with clothes on. Ice bucket challenge for ALS has become viral over the past few weeks and each day more and more videos for the same are posted online.
For the starters it is Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis. ALS. It is also called as Lou Gehrig disease named after an American baseball player. Stephen Hawking, the famous scientist was diagnosed with it and the recent. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, which begins with weakness in legs, spreads with muscles not working, which affects speaking, swallowing and could affect breathing. Yes, a difficult disease.
And how frequently does it occur? 1 or 2 in 1,00,000. That is rare. And what is the treatment? Practically very limited, with one drug known to improve survival and others to manage the host of associated conditions.
Ok we were at the Ice Bucket Challenge remember? It is to raise awareness, raise money for research for ALS, which is all good and warranted. But what is not warranted is the mindless oh-am-so-cool, oh-am-so-concerned, oh-am-so-updated horde of joining the challenge and nominating others thereby triggering the chain.
The criticism are plenty. Beginning from wasting water which is of great value to a host of people to no link between donating money and taking a bath. What it could do is make a few people google what ALS is, which in itself is good that it added to their GK.
To put things in perspective, about 6,27,000 people dies of malaria in 2012. Yes the what-you-think not-so-serious malaria. Donation for that could help millions. This is certainly not to discredit the requirement of awareness and funding for ALS research and patient-support. It has been a sad fact, but an economically and socially prudent one perhaps that disease affecting the larger number of people receives more attention.
But the Ice Bucket challenge is nothing to do with the above serious issues of healthcare policies and flux of research. It is more about a rat race in a dignified manner. It is to look cool since Lady Gaga, Satya Nadella, Justin Beiber have taken it. It is to identify with the global awareness drive and show to your friends over facebook and twitter how charity is a concern for you (which as well could genuinely be). It gives you a sense of satisfaction of having done something, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is just the lame act.
A word of caution: take care not to catch a cold.