The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: A movement, NOT a bandwagon for your narcissism.

I am certain that most people have already heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you've only heard "Ice Bucket Challenge", then you are missing the point.

The challenge is a movement started by the late Corey Griffin, and Pete Frates, who suffers from the neurodegenerative disease himself. The Ice Bucket Challenge is not unique to just ALS. But the focus really shifted towards the disease when former Boston College baseball player, Pete Frates, was diagnosed with the disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. His friend, Griffin, then helped raise awareness, initially within their alma mater. The movement has since gone viral and has seen participation from the likes of US President Barack Obama (he declined the ice bucket portion but donated), A-list celebrities (Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and soon-to-be-Wonder-Woman Gal Gadot to name a couple), and several professional sports teams (Portland Thorns and LA Galaxy).

The late Corey Griffin. Griffin drowned in a diving accident just recently.

Pete Frates. The man who inspired the movement.

ALS, which stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (yes, I Googled it), is a form of progressive neurodegenerative disease. That puts it roughly within the same territory as Parkinson's Disease. The two similar diseases are not to be confused for one another, however. People living with Parkinson's Disease suffer from shaking, rigidity, and slowness of movement (dementia is a common symptom in later stages), whereas those living with ALS experience an increase loss of limb control/movement (and speech in later stages).

To put it simply, and according to my understanding (so don't quote me on this), those living with Parkinson's are able to move their limbs but with extreme difficulty. Watch "Love & Other Drugs" or search videos of Michael J. Fox if you need a visual example of Parkinson's Disease. Those living with ALS, on the other hand, eventually lose function of their limbs. Stephen Hawking is living with ALS. If you do not know who Stephen Hawking is, please run into a wall, and then Google him.

Shifting the focus back to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I was initially reluctant to find out what this movement was about because it was "viral". The first time I really got to know what the movement was about was when I stumbled upon a short video on Pete Frates. In this video, Frates talked about living with ALS and how it impacts not just his life, but the lives of those around him. I was moved by the video and immediately started reading up on this disease, which has yet to have a cure.

I was eventually nominated to take the challenge by a good friend of mine from college and accepted it because I wanted to do my part in spreading the awareness of this terrible disease. You can click HERE to see my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video. Or HERE, and HERE

You can do your part and donate to The website offers information regarding the disease and is a great place to start if you want to know more (please don't use Wikipedia). I am urging anyone who's taking up this challenge to really read about ALS. Do not dump buckets of ice water on yourselves ignorantly "because everyone is doing it". Do not treat this as a vanity project. Do not do this because it is "cool" (it is, quite literally, though). Do not pass "GO". Do not collect $200... Okay, I got carried away there.

But seriously though, please do not take up this challenge in vain. I know many people in Malaysia who would do things just because it is viral. Do not fuel your intolerable narcissism by posting videos of your little attempt. Educate yourself about the movement before doing this challenge.

There has also been deaths related to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. People, DO NOT TRY TO BE CLEVER. Please! This challenge is merely to create awareness and raise funds for research. Nobody cares how creative you are. If you cannot lift a heavy load, then a small bucket of ice water will do. Do this challenge with good intentions and do it safely.

And, oh. I nominate YOU!


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