Reasons why I am NOT doing the ALS bucket challenge

First, I just want to say that this post is not meant to undermine the efforts, good will, and the passions of all those who have donated and participated in the ALS challenge. This post is not meant to be judgemental or by any means ridicule, shame, or downplay anyone who has done the ice bucket challenge. In fact, I admire all those who rose to the challenge and have done it with zest, humour, and a generous heart.


However, after being nominated numerous times to do the challenge, each time I found myself hesitating. Perhaps, a side of me has always been suspicious of viral things on social media or perhaps, I am merely jaded by the whole equally viral, Kony2012 debacle. Nevertheless, I found that the whole challenge (just in my opinion only) didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps, I am overthinking it, but I don’t understand why an ice bucket dumped over my head will help ALS? Similarly, how does growing a moustache in November helps prostate cancer and men’s issues? To me, it just seems a bit gimmicky and a brilliant marketing tactic to get me to donate money.

Don’t get me wrong…I AM ALL ABOUT CHARITABLE GIVING!  I am passionate about it.  But, I don’t like getting manipulated or getting nominated to do it!  LOL.  With a finite amount of resources in my bank account, I want to donate money where it will count and where it will make the most differences. So forgive me, as I ask you to consider these factors the next time you are considering donating your finite and very hard earned resources.

1. Where is the greatest need?
2. Where will my donated resources have the greatest influence?
3. What is the most urgent problem in my city/world?

Based on those 3 questions, I don’t think ALS factors up. First off, ALS is categorized as a “rare” disease and compared to the top three diseases in Canada (cancer, at 72,000 deaths per year; heart disease, at 47,000; and cerebrovascular disease, 13,00000 people in Canada have the disease), the 600 that died from ALS, last year, is a relatively small number (it is always sad when someone dies, I am not diminishing the importance of their death, rather, I am just stating facts).  Based on StatsCan, ALS doesn’t even make the top 20 most fatal diseases.

Secondly, according to Scott Gilmore of Maclean’s magazine, he writes, ” [ALS] is already extremely well funded. As this chart from CDC data shows, last year ALS killed 6,849 people in the U.S., and attracted $23 million for research (a ratio of $3,382 per death). Heart disease, by contrast, killed 596,577 but only raised $54 million (a paltry sum of $90 per death). If you want your donation to make the biggest difference, fund the diseases that need the most money.”

Lastly, although ALS is the disease of the moment on our social media sites, it is not the disease of most urgent need or the issue that is the most urgent problem.  As a suggestion, perhaps we should look into the problem of refugees in Syria or the Ebola Crisis, which is now a full blown global health crisis.  In my opinion, we should support charities with the most need, not the most viral.  Check out this other article about why we shouldn’t let social memes and celebrities dictate our charitable actions.

Sorry to be the ice bucket on ice bucket challenge…I am not writing from a place of judgement or a stubborn refusal to join in, but it is always my practice and belief, that with most things we see on the internet, we should ask the right questions, do the necessary research, and then, make informed decisions.  

We are meant to transform culture, not conform to it. (That’s my main point…This whole article was just so I could make that statement).

So to all those who nominated me…thank you, I love you, but no thanks!  And to all my FB friends who I could have nominated, you can thank me later for not nominating you! 🙂

With that all being said, if you want to continue doing the challenge because it’s fun and you want to bring awareness to ALS…or just because you want to make a funny video…go for it.  🙂  But, please consider where you are putting your hard earned money.  Donate with truth and wisdom. 


Breaking News:  Another reason why a person shouldn’t do the bucket challenge…it’s hazardous to your life! 


4 responses to “Reasons why I am NOT doing the ALS bucket challenge

  1. Actually, when you grow a moustache in November for Movember, you’re supposed to be going around asking people to donate as you record your moustache-growing progress (similar to how you ask people to donate when you participate in a charity run). Participants are also encouraged to donate themselves to start Movember off.

    In contrast, the ice bucket challenge is a lot more look-at-me and does not guarantee donations. The focus is not even on donations, sadly.

  2. I appreciate the main point you’ve pointed out, that the viral quality of an event should not be the sole factor in making a decision on donating our hard earned money and changing our perspectives on current epidemics and such. I would also like to point out that a donation in itself is something that a person believes will make a difference in their world, that is, the world according to them, their community, and people who are close to them. Articles like yours are great and points out the fact that social media shouldn’t be pressuring people into donating to things they do not necessarily relate to or feel strongly about. However, I would be careful listing out facts of other “more influential” and “more important” epidemics going on in the world as comparisons, as that is no longer personal to the people who would like to support ALS and is somewhat of a put down on people who are personally affected by ALS, which I’m sure is not your intention. Donations are not necessarily always made to the most important and influential causes in the world right now; they are made to what is endearing to us and where we want changes to be made from our own perspectives. ALSA is also an organization with reliable research programs that are ongoing and is fairly incomparable to the Invisible Children from Kony 2012. Again, I appreciate you speaking out on the matter of viral social media pressures, but also keep in mind that donations are a very personal experience, for you, and for everyone else.

  3. I actually quite agree with reflecting on how one does charitable donations. I would much rather donate my time to a cause rather than money simply because I can see the direct effect it has. I don’t mind promoting awareness (since I DID do the ice bucket challenge, haha) but people should definitely do their research and personal reflection on how they want to see their donated resources be put to good use. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s