I believe the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began as a selfless way of raising money and awareness for this rare condition but was soon hijacked by people who couldn’t care one bit about the original charitable intentions. It soon became an egotistical craze where people used the veil of charity to show off and look cool on social networking sites. I mean some people in the end didn’t even bother to cover up that fact and completely ignored the charitable aspect of the challenge. I have watched countless videos of people saying: “Here’s my Ice Bucket Challenge. I nominate ____________, ____________ and ______________”. Not a word to be said on donating to charity.
There’s no question that giving money to charity (especially as most people are facing increasing economic difficulties at the moment) is a noble and respectable act. However, whether you choose to donate is quite personal as not everyone can afford to give the same amount. I am not entirely comfortable with the whole idea of nominating others to give money to a specific charity. Millions of people across the world give money in private but don’t want to make a big song and dance of it. It would be like going up to a charity box in shop and shouting, “I am putting £10 in and you must, too (pointing at a fellow shopper)”.
My other slight annoyance is that if you complete the challenge, you only have to pay £10 whereas if you refuse to do it, you are obliged to pay £100. Again, can’t you see the problem with forcing (I have heard stories of people being pestered to do the challenge or pay up) someone to donate? Most ordinary people cannot afford to donate more than £10 so it’s understandable that they will complete the task in order to pay the least amount. £100 is nothing to celebrities, so I think it’s out of order for them to do the challenge and pay the £10. They can do it but pay the higher amount as they can easily afford it.
People will respond by saying a video of David Beckham, for example, completing the challenge is to raise awareness but I am skeptical. Firstly when the craze was at its peak, it was unclear what charity was being promoted through the challenge. It started as ALS, then MND and a load of challenges were completed for a whole array of other charities including Ataxia UK (the condition I have). While it is very nice that some of my friends did the challenge for my charity, I can’t help but think it’s a bit like doing the Race for Life for another charity instead of Cancer Research UK. Secondly the cynic inside me believes that some have done it merely to cultivate/maintain a positive image. The challenge became a sort of PR stunt for the rich and famous.
Now, I know there will be quite a lot of people who strongly disagree with me about the concerns I have raised regarding the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Like I said, it began as a great idea but it became a popularity contest in the end. I should also make it clear that I’m not having a go at everyone who did the challenge. Just those who did it to look trendy in front of mates, didn’t donate money to charity or did it just so they could pay the least amount of money. You know who you are.