In a space that has been flooded with negativity and scenes of war and violence, I find my Facebook newsfeed lit up with people from all walks of life engaging in this challenge. For those that may not be aware of how this works, you are invited to take the challenge by either donating $100 to ALS research or dumping a bucket of ice water over your head. Those with means seem to be doing both, even exceeding the minimum donation amount. However, despite millions of dollars raised for important research, there are critics of this challenge. They vary widely from diverting donations from the ALS Association because foetal stem cells are used in their research, a violation of Catholic Social Teaching, to objections to a display of privilege; watching those with means wasting precious resources to perform this challenge.
For me, I have been torn over this debate. I think today, more than ever, we are in desperate need of levity. More than that, we need to rebuild our sense of community and can do so while raising awareness about ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, an incurable, progressive degenerative neurological disorder. I think that this challenge has accomplished all of these goals. From former presidents to billionaires, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to professional sports stars (even teams), movie stars and musicians, to my neighbours, friends, and family members – there is something about this that ties everyone together – a common bond, if you will, forged by this challenge. Not to mention, over $90 million has been raised to support research so far, with a record breaking $10 million raised in one day alone. To put this in perspective, the annual average annual donations received by the ALS Association is usually around $2.1 million. Continue reading “#IceBucketChallenge – Raising Awareness While Being Good Stewards by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”