I could have easily titled this You Might Be an Asshat if You Complain About Other People Raising Money and Awareness for Charity. Because, seriously, how can you possibly piss and moan about other people doing ANYTHING to make this world a better place?
Would you heckle people who walk at Relay for Life? Would you taunt a group having a car wash to raise money for a battered women's shelter?
I hope not.
I've seen a lot of people complain about the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. A lot. And I find that incredibly disturbing.
So, why all the negativity about people dumping water on themselves, challenging others to do the same, and donating money to charity?
"What good does dumping water on yourself actually do?"
"People are wasting perfectly good water."
"Why not just donate money to an organization? Why the need for all the attention on yourself?"
"What about the people who are just dumping water on themselves to get out of donating?"
I actually have an answer to all of those things. (Of course I do!)
"What good does it do?" It brings people together, working as a larger group, building unity to call attention and bring awareness to those who live with ALS. There are more people talking about ALS than there have ever been. More awareness = more money = more time spent on finding a cause and cure. I'd say that's pretty damn good.
"People are wasting water." No, it's not wasted when it's used as a catalyst in something so positive. When you can bring hope and help, nothing is wasted.
"Why not just donate the money? Why do you need the attention?" Well, I personally never really thought about ALS. It wasn't anything I would have ever considered donating to, even though I often contribute to charities. When my family and friends ride their bikes 150 miles to raise money for MS, I donate. When my neighbor sends around the envelope to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I donate. When kids come around asking for pledges for the Jump for Heart challenge at their school, I donate. However, there are many causes and charities I don't think or know about. ALS wouldn't have been on MY radar if not for all these people taking the IceBucketChallenge. It's not about bringing attention to yourself ... it's about bringing attention to the issue. And that's a good thing. (And now that I'm aware, I want to know more so that I can understand and empathize with those living with ALS. Here is an excellent post about what it's like to live with this horrible disease ... it will make you think. For sure.)
"What about the people who are just dumping water on themselves to get out of donating?" In a perfect world, everyone would donate. But you know what, even those who aren't are still involved in something good ... because they're involving others -- and it's likely that some of them will donate. We don't need everyone to be completely passionate about what they're doing for it to still have a good result. Awareness is still awareness, money is still money. Whether someone's heart is as committed as the next person isn't what matters. It's about starting somewhere.
Here are some questions I have for the naysayers:
When so many people are engaged in such a good cause, why do you have to mar their efforts with negativity?
How is the Ice Bucket Challenge hurting anyone?
When people of all walks -- athletes, celebrities, families, college students, children -- are actively engaged to bring about positive change, how can you criticize that?
To all those who've taken the Ice Bucket Challenge and to those who've donated, Thank You. I think you're doing something fantastic and powerful. (If you'd like to donate, visit http://www.alsa.org/donate/.)
And, if you want to know how this all started, you can check out this video about Pete Frates: