Monday, September 01, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In the last few months, no other issues have dominated Americans' lives than ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In fact, the trend has spread at such a rapid pace that ~$100 million have been raised in the past few weeks alone worldwide. While most people have been going with the trend in participating in this cause just because someone nominated them, or they thought it was cool to do, or they just felt it gave them a reason to show off their humanitarian side, I want to bring your attention to something else about it.

Recently, I read a friend's status of Facebook (keeping identity anonymous):
I normally don't do statuses or long posts but I feel like I need to in this case. With all the ALS/icebucket challenges appearing on all our newsfeeds, it got me thinking about humanity. While I am all for raising awareness for ALS, the harsh reality is that in a couple weeks most people won't remember ALS. We live in a society that's obsessed with the "cool thing" that's currently trending. While ALS is a very serious matter, it is not the only major incurable disease that needs our attention. HIV/Aids, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lupus, ebola are just some to name a few. We need to take these things seriously and not wait to act until we or our loved ones are personally affected. Always help when you can because you never know when you are gonna need help.
Personally, my younger sister was diagnosed with systemic lupus almost 7 years ago. Those who know me, know what that means to me. Lupus is one of the hardest diseases to diagnose because it mimics the symptoms of other incurable autoimmune diseases. While the disease can be managed, it puts limitations on lifestyle. It is most prevalent in women between ages 15-44. Now I'm not saying this to bring attention to myself or my sister. I'm saying this because the world needs proactive people who are willing to support these issues that need our attention. It is our human responsibility to try to make the world a better place for ourselves, our kids, grand-kids and future generations.
With that I said, I strongly urge people to find a cause that's either important to them or they are interested in. Educate yourself and support it fully. It doesn't have to be a disease. The world has many issues that need our attention: 35% of the world has no access to a toilet, 10% has no access to clean water, almost 50% of the world survives on less than $2.50 a day. All I'm trying to do is hopefully remind people how lucky and privileged we are to lead the lives we lead and as a result it is our duty to help others that are less fortunate.
To those who take the time to read this, I hereby challenge you to make a positive difference and help make the world a better place!
Not only this, but articles or news stories as these also made me wonder about it.

As much as I agree with the founding initiator of this trend, Peter Frates's initiation of this project to raise awareness & money for proper research about this neuro-disease, I felt different about reading the above pieces. I understand that people who have this disorder don't enjoy the same type of living as a normal person does. But the above stories really made me think differently about this cause.

When pure water is already in scarcity in certain parts of the world, wasting the water that is used for ice shower for this challenge, is sheer non-sense to me. Instead of solving or addressing one particular issue or cause, the extensive use of good water makes me wonder how those lesser privileged people would be thinking if they were seeing these videos. By wasting the amount of water that people have done or will be doing for this challenge issue, are we not raising another issue that will need to be addressed afterwards? Have we given this any thought? While the midwest & western part of America is facing the worst type of drought, forest fire in the last few years, how wise is it to waste the water for some challenge to raise awareness & find cure for the disease.

Don't get me wrong. I am willing to donate $10 or $100 for ALS foundation. But is it the only disorder that needs our attention? Is this the only issue to raise awareness for or raise fund to find cures for the disease? Plus, how much of the money actually reaches research facilities? Coming from a science background, I've seen how professors struggle to obtain funding for their respective research. How much different would it be for ALS foundation? Have you given this any thought?

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