Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have seen friends, family and celebrities partaking in the viral phenomenon that is the ‘ice bucket challenge’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of ‘those’ ranters who protest their hate for the challenge claiming that it ‘wastes too much water’ or doesn’t truly make a difference in the world; I have even took on the challenge for myself. However, it seems to have evolved into ‘a bit of fun’ rather than to raise money for the ALS charity.
The viral challenge has opened my eyes to the general concept of ‘charity’. As my thoughts deepened, I was actually rather sickened by the fact that as a race, we often have to get something in return in order to give to charity.
It seems to me that people are giving to the ALS charity without truly knowing what the illness is; I myself am not exempt from this accusation, donating money to fund for an illness which at the time this is all I knew:
1. It effects the brain.
2. Stephen Hawking has ALS
3. It prevents all bodily motor functions.
After the feeling of shame washed away, I began research and only then did I truly realise what a debilitating disease it truly is. It turns out that independent life is impossible after diagnosis, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is 2-5 years. This makes Stephen Hawking truly remarkable as he is 72 years old. It is an absolutely life changing disease that can effect any family member with the gene.
Then my morbid brain questioned further, and I began to think about the other charity organisations which fund for equally terrible illnesses such as alzheimer’s, parkinsons, malignant cancer, cystic fibrosis… the list goes on. Where is their funding?
And then my brain took a turn into Tim Burton land, and it began to get truly dark. The ice bucket challenge demonstrates the selfish nature of humans, who only donate for the fun ‘dumping of ice’- indeed with most popular charity events there is also the element of selfishness. We have red nose day in the UK in which we purchase red noses, and wear silly tops while watching celebrities make fools of themselves on TV- We raise millions of pounds on this day, yet once again would we have raised this if we weren’t entertained?
And then there’s the sucker punch of a question that is on everybody’s lips.
Where does all of the charity money go? Millions each year every year is given to the charity, yet still we see the pictures of dying mosquito bitten African children. So far almost $90 million has been raised for the ALS motor neurone disease, and that’s brilliant. Yet the cynical part of my brains which has analysed the insatiable greed of the human race must question if the whole $90 million will go to the ALS charity, or in the back pocket of the ‘middle man’.
If you want you can donate to the ALS charity by texting ICED55 to 70070- but don’t forget that other charities exist that need donations, like these bad boys!
Cystic fibrosis- https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-donate/online-donation
Alzheimers society- http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/donate
Muscular dystrophy- https://www2.muscular-dystrophy.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=241&__utma=72262927.1157462188.1409243085.1409243085.1409243085.1&__utmb=722629126.96.36.1999243085&__utmc=72262927&__utmx=-&__utmz=72262927.1409243085.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=(not%20provided)&__utmv=-&__utmk=196190506