The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Yes, it finally happened. A couple of days ago my friend nominated me for the Ice Bucket Challenge on Facebook, and me much obliging to do anything for a good cause decided to hop right to it (I'm aware you're supposed to do it within 24 hours but time difference, living in a block of flats and not having a computer made it a bit difficult!)

I did the challenge at an English dinner party that a couple of my travel friends and I were hosting, and originally I was going to try and combine the whole thing into a vlog of some sort. However, I ended up having an conversation during the night that made me decide to write a little bit about the challenge itself, rather than focusing on the evening.

First off, I freely admit that I didn't actually know what charity the challenge was for at first. I'd seen it explained on some YouTube Channel a few weeks before but I couldn't really remember properly because I thought it was just some celebrity thing rather than something for us common folk to participate in too, plus if you know me by now, you'll know just how awful my memory is. So when somebody asked me the other night what I was doing it for, I stuttered at a guess of a Leukaemia charity, because I mean there's an 'L' in the title and that's often a well supported charity and after the whole Breast Cancer 'No Make-Up Selfie' it kind of made sense. Obviously this went on to cause a variety of different reaction from the people who heard; laughter, 'oh Emily' accompanied by a head shake and abuse about first world privilege... As you can imagine, that last one didn't go down so well.

*I'd just like to point out here that ALS is actually the American term for Motor Neutron Disease (MND), as we call it in the UK, so I wasn't just being stupid, we just have a different name for it*

Now I'm aware that doing something for a charity when you have no idea what you're supporting might sound like the stupidest thing ever. And on a personal level, I agree. I always want to know who or what I'm supporting, where my money is going and how it's going to work. After years and years of volunteering in the charity sector and spending my entire life fundraising for a various array of different causes, I'm not one to lightly send my money off without knowing where it's going. Of course I know I should have researched what the meaning behind the challenge was all about before agreeing to have ice water dumped on my head, but if I'm honest, I trusted that some of my closest friends had taken part in the challenge as well as some huge celebrities, and that they weren't stupid enough to donate some evil no-good cause.

I suppose it's easy for me to say now that I was always going to look it up, I would never have uploaded it if I didn't agree with the cause etc etc. and if you don't want to believe me that's fine. What I really want to say about all this is that regardless of whether I was blindly following trend or doing my bit because the cause is something that is really close to my heart, the important focus here is that this disease and this charity has received recognition from this silly challenge above and beyond anything anyone could have anticipated. Speaking on behalf of those who are particularly passionate about doing whatever they can for those in need, we need those people who just want to join in for a bit of a laugh, make a one off donation or simply want to make a fool of their friends to make things like this spread like wildfire.You know, the kind of people that give money to the homeless on the street just because they feel particularly generous that day, the ones who put their change in the charity box on the shop counter regardless of the cause and got stuck into ice bucket challenge without really knowing what it's all about. Those people are so so important, because whilst it's impossible to know about and understand every good cause that is out there, it isn't impossible to take five minutes out of your day to support them every once in a while.

So be as cynical as you like and frown upon all the people who are doing a good thing for a good cause whilst having fun at the same time, but at the end of the day an incredibly positive thing sweeping the Internet in this day and age amongst the wars, injustice and corruption of the world is hardly something to be ashamed of being a part of. A single person can only do so much alone, but when everybody joins together, that's when the real change starts to happen, and I for one want to do whatever I can, stupid freezing ice water challenge and all.

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