27 August 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge and My Thoughts

I’m sure all of you know about the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS Awareness. If you don’t (believe it or not, it is possible because I know someone who has no idea about it), let me explain it to you from the information I gathered from the internet.

According to the ALS Association, ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is "a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed."

In short, once diagnosed, the patient slowly loses the ability to use his muscles until he can’t move at all without help. It's very scary and there is no cure. So far. Hence, the Ice Bucket Challenge which has people around the world including celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and athletes participating since July this year.

Please watch this video first to see how and why the Challenge started.

Done? Ok. Now on to the rules.

The rules of the Ice Bucket Challenge are simple. If you are challenged to do it, you have 2 options to choose from within the next 24 hours:
(1) You don’t do it and donate $100 through the ALSA website, or
(2) Accept the challenge and get ready with the things you need

If you opt to get soaked like the rest of the world, here are the steps you need to follow:
(1) Get a bucket and fill it with extremely cold water and lots of ice
(2) Get a video and film yourself or have someone do it for you
(3) In the video, you need to mention the following:
     • Your name
     • The person who challenged you
     • Three people you would like to see do the same thing
     • The ALS Association website: www.alsa.org
(4) Get soaked with the ice water
(5) Scream, shout, jump around, or do whatever you want to help you forget about the freezing discomfort you're experiencing
(6) Upload your video on the internet and tag the people you nominated
(7) Donate through the ALSA website. Yes, you still have to donate even though you accepted and did the Challenge. It doesn’t have to be $100. You can donate lower if you want (at least $5), but you still have to donate.

So anyway, I was challenged by a friend last Sunday. Actually, he didn’t say my name on the video he uploaded, but I did see my name in the description, along with a bunch of other people he challenged. I’m not sure if that counts; but anyway, let’s say for argument’s sake that it does.

I was thrilled to have been challenged. It’s exciting and a bit stressful to know that you are one of those people who has been nominated to make a difference in some way or another. I had mixed emotions and opinions on whether I would do it though.

For one thing, it would be fun to do. However, if I did accept the challenge, there was no way I could do it in 24 hours. We didn’t have that much ice at home, and the only free time I had was that night (I did not want to get myself wet before going to bed) or in the morning when I got up to prepare for work (I didn’t want to wake my girls from their sleep from my screaming and I was not going to freeze myself that early even though I would be taking a shower right after).

And then there’s the issue of not wasting water because there are several countries worldwide that are in dire need of clean water to drink. Heck! I just need to look at our water and electricity bill to realize how precious water is.  Which brings me to the other option of not having ice water dumped on my head and donate $100.

$100 is not a small amount for an ordinary person. The cost of living in Dubai is getting higher every day and letting go of Dhs365 isn’t easy, even if it’s for a good cause. Hubby also told me that we often take part in the Dubai Terry Fox Run so at least we do something for some kind of disease research.  And then yesterday, one of our friends happened to share on Facebook another person’s research that only a small percent of the donations actually go to the study of ALS. However, when I went to the "Donate" tab of the ALSA website, donors can specify if they want their donations to be used for ALS research.

I know more than 24 hours has passed since I was challenged, but I still have a choice to get soaked or not, right?  And I don't think ALSA will criticize me if I don't join the bandwagon, right?

In the end, what’s important is we all make a difference…whether for ALS or anything else that matters in the world.

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