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For last couple of days we are watching Bollywood celebs are dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, the ice bucket challenge, is the hottest thing on social media right now. And while the videos have been great fun to watch, have they really benefitted ALS? how many of us who have seen the ALS ice bucket challenge even know what the disease is?
So What is ALS?
ALS is a fatal disease where people lose muscle control, including the ability to speak, eat or even breathe. Life expectancy after being diagnosed is between 2-5 years and current treatment can only extend it by a few months.
And why are people doing it?
The challenge engages pouring a bucket of cold ce water over their heads to raise awareness and fight ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The challenge is simple, pour ice-cold water over your head and then challenge someone else to do it. The person challenged has to do so within 24 hours or donate $100 to fight ALS. Even if a person completes the challenge, they’re welcome to donate the money.
How did it start?
The ALS Association credits Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player for making the challenge popular. He’s been living with the disease since 2012, and it has become a phenomenon since Frates took the challenge at the end of last month.
Has it helped raise awareness?
The ALS Association has already received over $4 million in donations between July 29thand 12th August which suggests that people are definitely aware about the condition.
Starting with Bipasha Basu, to Akshay Kumar, from Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan, to Siddharth Malhotra and recently Daler Mehedi dropped three buckets of ice cubes on himself while humming bole tara-ra. The fact is that they seem to want to cash in on the latest viral trend. So in India it’s like the new Harlem Shake (one person who dances, and then everyone joins in the chorus) -- more about having fun than the cause itself.
It seems, that the videos themselves have completely overshadowed the disease that they are supposed to raise awareness and funds for.
Sonakshi Sinha’s Ice Bucket Challenge version is most sensible. Without being nominated by anyone, Sonakshi took the ALS ice bucket challenge, gives a message “Stop Wasting Water “with one Ice in Bucket. Instead of dumping icy cold water on her head, the actress overturns an empty bucket. “So I just saved a lot of water and now I’m going to go donate the money,” she says in the video.
So, in a country where water shortage is one of the major issues, does it make any sense to follow the viral trend and waste water by taking the ice bucket challenge?
Surely, the challenge inspires people to donate and helps raising money for a good cause but the ultimate aim of creating awareness about the disease through social media has been achieved largely.
So, should Indians also participate in the challenge to spread the awareness about ALS in India? Without wasting water it’s not a bad idea but at the same time India also needs awareness about several other problems that are much bigger than ALS.