I did the ALS ice bucket challenge over the weekend. I was hoping that my name wouldn’t come up, but it did. I didn’t want my name to come up because I’ve been feeling conflicted about the whole campaign. But, in the end, it felt OK to do the challenge. And, it turns out, I’m a sucker for peer pressure—especially after being nominated by a very good friend of mine who has had her own difficult health issues (not ALS) over the past couple of years.
I agree that the challenge is a waste of water. And I agree that it’s kind of silly to do this activity while Oklahoma is in a drought. But, Scott and I are doing our own part to conserve water in other ways: we don’t water our lawn (to the chagrin of some of our neighbors), I use containers that hold water to garden instead of a traditional bed, we only do extra-full loads of laundry, we switch off hand-washing our dishes (less water used) and using the dishwasher (because we’re still somewhat lazy/over-extended), etc. So, I wasted some water. But I’ve saved a lot of water with my lifestyle. I also chose to make all my own ice, so no transportation costs, freezing costs, etc went into my ice bucket. My ice bucket was as small of a waste of water as possible. (And it sure felt nice, after the first shock, in this hot Oklahoma weather. I wished I had a kiddy pool full of cold—but not ice cold—water I could sit in.)
We made a donation as well as doing the awareness gimmick. I decided to do the publicity gimmick, but, of course, that is not enough. Dumping ice water on your head doesn’t provide resources for research. Donating provides resources for research.
As a family, we have a connection to ALS through Scott’s grandmother, who died from ALS. Because this was a family issue for us, I felt OK donating to this cause. We don’t just donate to ALS – we’ve also given to Scott’s bird-a-thon that raised money for the Payne County Audubon Society, Relay for Life, our church, and, well, some more “controversial” organizations.
Participating in the gimmick had the unexpected, but very welcome, effect of opening up a dialog about ALS for some extended family members and their children. Surprisingly, I was the first non-celebrity one family member had seen doing this challenge. My participation was a catalyst for a family discussion about this illness. The awareness gimmick worked: some children’s awareness was raised.
So, this is a difficult topic – but since the donation was made from the heart, the gimmick was as environmentally friendly as I could make it, and doing the gimmick created more awareness of ALS… I’m mostly OK with my decision.
Scott was challenged by my father. Since our household has already donated to ALS and we feel that there are many organizations deserving of support, Scott is picking a different charity to support. This giving will also be from our hearts. The ALS ice bucket challenge is a complicated campaign, and I’m glad people are thinking about it carefully. And I’m glad people are researching which types of causes they want (or do not want) to support. I’m not judging you for whom or what you support. Please, don’t judge me.