Impact of the Ice Bucket Challenge

By slgckgc (Doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (14927191426)Over the last month, we have not been able to escape the Ice Bucket Challenge.

I have participated, and made my donation to the cause, as I know many of my friends and family have too. I have heard so many positives and negatives about the challenge, it has made me want to share my thoughts.

Some are tired of seeing it. Some are confused by the process, as it would appear as if the rules state, that you only pour the ice bucket on yourself if you are unwilling to make a donation to the ALS organization. Some think it is fun. Some think it is stupid. I think it is powerful, and will have an impact on fundraising efforts for years to come.

Many do not know the story… and believe me, there is a powerful story behind this challenge. The challenge was started by former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, his friends, and family, after a very early diagnosis that changed Pete’s life. Take a moment and search online, and you will even see Mr. Frates taking part in the challenge himself. What a minor challenge for him considering what his diagnosis puts him through day in and day out.

There is a purpose for the ice water… it is not just for the fun of it. The sensation that is felt by someone pouring the ice bucket over their heads, onto the back of their neck, gives them a split second understanding of what those with ALS feel each and every day. I felt that split second in my own participation. I cannot imagine feeling that every day of my life.

But, as I sat back and watched this come together, there is a certain undeniable fact.

Maybe I see things differently with my marketing mindset, but this challenge will change the way fundraising is done. It is literally game changing. This event will go down in history as the most successful fundraising effort for any organization worldwide. Raising over $100 million in just over 30 days is unheard of, and frankly, I am not sure it can be matched again.

Honestly, it is Mr. Frates that has changed the game. He has made all of us stop and recognize this disorder, which many of us were somewhat unfamiliar with. We knew of Lou Gehrig’s disease… sort of. We knew of Lou Gehrig. But during his time, we were unable to see the staggering speed in the progression of this disorder. Many facing this disease before hid themselves from the public. They shared their struggles with family and friends, but ultimately stayed in hiding. Mr. Frates put himself in the public eye to show all of us the incredible need for a cure for this disease.

I have to say, it has put this disease on my radar screen. I am blessed in my life to not have any direct friends or family members that have had to experience this, but this challenge has slapped us all in the face, and with the incredible amount of funding raised for research, only further good news can come of this.

As we all know, it should not take something like The Ice Bucket Challenge to remind us that we need to seek research and funding for diseases that have no cure.

So, long story short, a tip of the hat to you Pete Frates. You were able to find a way to change the world, one person and one bucket at a time.