Opinion

Editorial: ALS awareness a YouTube hit

Go ahead, take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. You’ll be cool if you do it, in more ways than one.

Most of us, by now, have seen our Facebook friends or celebrities participating in what has been a wildly successful fundraiser for ALS societies around the world. The concept is simple and fun – douse yourself with a bucket of ice water, make a donation to your local ALS society, and challenge three others to do the same.

The ice bucket challenge has been exactly the right kind of fundraiser for the summer of 2014. In modern times, many of us are goofing off for the sake of a YouTube clip anyway, so we might as well do it for a good cause.

The ALS Society of Canada was reporting last week that including its provincial affiliates, the ice bucket challenge had raised some $800,000 and counting. This summer’s donations are a hundred-fold beyond anything the society has ever seen.

A lot of people have had some laughs dumping ice water on their head, but for most, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t just a thoughtless stunt. Facebook friends are reportedly ‘policing’ the fundraiser – those who fail to mention ALS in their videos or demonstrate some awareness of the cause are criticized.

We at the News Bulletin are heartened to see ALS receiving so much attention and support. Earlier this year, we published a series of articles on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that destroys the motor neurons that send electric impulses between the muscles and brain. Staff members were inspired, then, to organize fundraising initiatives for ALS, and now we’ve accepted the ice bucket challenge – check our Facebook page to see how it turns out.

There is no cure for ALS, but researchers right here in B.C., at the University of British Columbia, could be close to a breakthrough. And our silly stunts could make a difference. It takes a bucket of ice water, a cheque, good intentions and hope.

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