6 days ago
So I’ve been called out in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by one of my real-life Facebook friends. (Not that you guys aren’t my friends… or real… or, um, what was I talking about?)
Now, while I have no problem doing such a simple thing in and of itself, I have mixed emotions about participating in…
I have the same qualms about the ice bucket challenge, and have actually declined to do a video, though I will donate. I have had a family member die fairly recently of ALS, and while I’m sure she would have wanted to raise awareness, and did contribute a lot of her own resources to ALS research, I’m not sure she would have found this trend a fitting or respectful way to get those noble goals accomplished.
And are we really even raising awareness? Most of the people I’ve seen on my own Facebook feed couldn’t tell you what ALS stands for, much less what the disease actually looks like when it takes over a person’s body and leaves them mute, unable to swallow, and eventually unable to move even their index finger to signify yes and no before they finally succumb to respiratory failure from weakened respiratory muscles.
And what of this research money? $40 million this year is great and may jump start some good projects, but will they be able to be sustained 3, 4, 5 years from now when people have moved on to planking for prostate cancer or phone booth stuffing for diabetes and the donations dwindle down to $5 million or so?
As I learned in volunteering at a food pantry, charity is often (and sometimes literally) feast or famine when people are reminded to give through some holiday, awareness day, or internet gimmick. But the needs are constant and the work has to be sustainable to ultimately be effective. People who are involved in that work on a daily basis would love to see strong consistent givers.
My stance is this: find the causes you believe in. Find the ones that mean something to you and those you love, and donate to them consistently, even if the amount is “small”.
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