Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS

Let me preface this: I think that the Ice Bucket Challenge is a wonderful idea to raise awareness, just like The Invisible Children's videos were a wonderful way to raise awareness. I am not criticizing anyone who participated in any of these causes or in any causes in general. On the contrary, I am ecstatic that people are taking part and raising awareness and donating. I'm not bashing on any of it, merely asking you to think deeper, care deeper.




I've done a lot of research on this challenge in the past few days.

Ever since I heard about this challenge I had mixed feelings. It annoyed me that people were promoting it as "do the challenge or donate $100. Yes, it is wonderful that people are raising awareness, and I know that not all of us can donate, but the way it became such a fad - in the same way The Invisible Children became a fad - really made me sad about our society.

Here's a Vlog I recorded about Kony 2012.


As I've said in a Facebook discussion, I think that it should have been marketed differently. If we had people sponsor our Ice Bucket Challenge, we could raise more money! Iman's cousin shaved his head for Saint Jude's Children's hospital. He had a fundraising website and people helped him raise money for his goal.

My friend Ariana, regularly does UNICEF's "Live Below The Line" where she raises money and eats off of a few dollars for a week - just like children who are starving in other countries do.

I think these are wonderful ways to raise money.

At any rate, it makes me sad that the people who do the ice bucket challenge don't all donate. I am sure some donate - especially since the challenge has raised $15.6 million. Are we only going to do a challenge like this or raise money like this because the social campaign is innovative and becomes a fad?

No! We should be doing this because we actually care and want to make a difference and raise money for a cause.

On top of that, I've been getting pretty annoyed with Californians for doing this. Some people say that there isn't much water being wasted on this challenge, but the fact still remains that water is being wasted.

We're in a drought in California. I've written about it on the blog before, and I seriously try as hard as I can to save water. I haven't washed my car in months. I get annoyed when people wash sidewalks. I would prefer to have an eco-friendly desert-scape yard. I shower every few days, and my showers rarely last more than 10 minutes. We wash our clothes once a month and wash the dishes every couple of days.

Doing the Ice Bucket challenge seems to waste water to me. Even when people do it over a pool - pools (and boy do us Californians love our pools) waste water!

As you can see, my issues with this challenge and others like it are on a deeper level. I want us to think more about this challenge. To do more. If we don't challenge ourselves, then what good is the challenge? 

P.s. This article says everything I think about this.
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84 comments:

  1. I feel the same way as you do about this. I feel instead of making something a trend, make an actual difference. If you can't donate, participate in a walk or fundraiser of some sort. It just seems to be getting out of hand like it's more of a dare than anything else.

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  2. I think the fact that it has become a trend is a great thing. So many people are more aware of the disease, and yes, there are people that are just doing it because it is a fad, but in the midst of all that, you still have people, like me, who knew nothing about the disease prior, and now my whole heart is in it to raise awareness and help raise money for the cause. It's a disease that no one was talking about a year ago, and now, people are becoming educated about it. I can understand why people in California wouldn't want to do it because of the drought, but the challenge isn't just about dumping water on your head, the alternative is to donate. I also understand getting upset because of those that are dumping the water instead of donating rather doing both, but, like I said, in the midst of all the people doing it for attention, there are tons of people actually getting educated and learning more about ALS that had no idea what it was before. With the society we live it, we can't control what becomes a fad and what doesn't, and some people still have the mindset of going against the crowd because it's the cool thing to do, but when it comes to a disease with no cure, I would rather encourage people go with the fad because more people will become aware, more people will participate, and more funds will be raised.

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  3. Since my family was personally impacted by ALS, I chose to donate, but I chose to make the video as well to participate in the social interaction of it all. I love your idea of sponsoring the challenge--talk about motivation! However, the ALS foundation said that they have seen 3x more donations during this period as a result of the campaign, so clearly something is working! I really hope that the major celebs dumping ice on their head are writing a check as well, and that those that can't take the time to sit down and learn a little more about ALS, like they are likely prompted to by challenges such as the Live Below the Line.

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  4. The ALS ice bucket challenge is very different from Kony 2012 because it's from a credible organization and the disease affects people all over the world, rather than children far away in Africa. I encourage you to watch this video that explains why the challenge started: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201672695258217&permPage=1. It was started by a young man who suffers from the disease and wanted to spread awareness/do something fun with his friends. Raising money wasn't even the initial goal, but since the challenge has gone viral, $15 million has been raised to combat ALS, as opposed to $1.8 million at the same time last year.

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  5. I definitely see where you are coming from - I am annoyed that so many people use the wording to "Do this OR donate" It should be "Do this AND donate". I think it's great that the videos are surpassing donation goals, but I'd rather just donate than dump ice on my head :) That's what I did <3

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  6. You're Absolutely right, I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately when I was nominated I take it as a good thing, I mean, is to help an organization and all those things, but I didn't realize that as in California also is happening throughout Colombia, and the water is running out. Now everybody is taking all this as a game and not as a good cause. People should definitely change the fact of throwing water on them and think of something new.

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  7. I totally understand your viewpoint about this, especially because I've been conflicted about it too. I donated money to the organization and I'm doing the ice bucket with my sorority. It also just bothers me to use a bucket full of water when I live in a state where a drought is an everpresent reality. But I watched the video of how it started, and I am glad that there is some awareness about it.

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  8. Interesting perspective! I originally felt a lot like you do (minus the drought thing--we don't have that problem where I live, so good point), but when I realized 1) How much (so so so much more than usual) money it was raising, and 2) how many people didn't even know what ALS was and learned about it through the challenge, I became a supporter. It's not my cup of tea, but more power to those who choose to raise awareness and money!


    Also, as a journalist, I am in awe at the pure social snowball it's created. Lol.

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  9. I do kind of agree with you, but one thing I'll say about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge is that even though some people might not donate, it absolutely raises awareness which eventually leads to more donations so it's not all bad. It's certainly a lot better than fundraisers like Susan G. Komen which do walks and largely profit and donate only a little. And in those walks, people do get sponsors and donate money, but not all the money goes where it should.

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  10. i like your perspective.
    while i don't completely agree, i mean it brings awareness to a cause, but i also feel that every cause needs equal awareness, not just one.

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  11. I agree that it is becoming more of a dare than anything else. I know that many people have true intentions, and what's more even more people think they have true intentions but really are doing it because they know that they will be given recognition for it. Maybe it is the cynic in me, but I like to hope that we're making a difference. I wrote this post to have people think deeper about their intentions and what they can do to help out!

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  12. Like I mentioned, I'm not criticizing people for doing it, just asking people to think deeper about it. You are very similar to me in always wanting to give back and educate yourself about something. I have no doubt that you will remember this awareness and do what you can in the future as well. I am not trying to encourage people to stop taking part, just to think deeper on how they can help out and what they can do to raise awareness. To get more on your level.

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  13. Krista KetterhagenAugust 19, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Awww I love you!!! Working for a water agency in So Cal, I am pretty annoyed with the waste of water. I had heard of the "challenge" when it first started to circulate and at that time it was firefighters/medics doing the challenge in freezing pools and lakes. I just hope if people are willing to pay the $10 and to the challenge they are also aware that clean drinking water for consumption is of utmost importance to the public.

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  14. I could not have said how I felt about this challenge any better! Agreed 100%. I think there are so many great, memorable ways to raise money AND awareness that wasting anything isn't required.

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  15. I totally agree with you. Of course, I mean, unless people really understand what ALS is, is it really bringing awareness to the issue? I actually think it's more of an experiment in sociology actually and in human psychology. People are dumping ice over their heads - from my observations - to, A.) Not look like a wuss, B.) Look popular, or overly philanthropic, or C.) for fun.

    None of this correlates to ALS. At least not that I can see. Sure there may be more Google searches for it, and arguably money has been raised, but I wouldn't say this "raises awareness" anymore than some vague status on Facebook about your bra color raises awareness for breast cancer.

    Just my two cents as a PR person. And as someone who was terrified for months that she may have a neurological problem. So, if I dump ice over my head, it will be a way to raise awareness of hypochondria. In the meantime, my support of ALS is monetary.

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  16. I hope so, too!! I definitely love the idea of the social interaction, just hoping people think deeper and do more!! I definitely think this is something that we should sponsor! I honestly believe that many of the donations made are because of the celebrities - whether personally or from them generating awareness.

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  17. I watched the special on the Ice Bucket Challenge on television and learned his story. He was absolutely blown away at the way that it became viral - which is amazing. I am merely focusing on the fact that many things got lost in translation and it has become more of a fad cause, and less of a genuine interest. This is absolutely different than Kony - because that organization was also corrupt. I just posted the video because it became viral in the same sort of way and I want people to think more about their doing good, than doing it because it is the popular thing to do. If you read the article I linked to at the bottom, you will see what I mean about it. Again, I'm absolutely not criticizing people for doing the challenge, merely asking them to think deeper.

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  18. Yes! That is exactly what I think!! Do this AND donate

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  19. I definitely think it is a great thing to call out your friends to do the challenge and spread awareness that way but I think we should definitely keep doing more and thinking deeper about things! I'm sorry that your water is running out, too!!

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  20. Most of my friends have done it. They've done it at the pool with water that was taken from the pool. Most of these people live in the SFV, and I couldn't imagine living their in the summer without some cool water relief. We are in a drought though and definitely need to be conserving water, but I think most people aren't really aware of how to save water. You see signs on the freeway that tell you to save water, but you no longer see a lot of commercials telling you in what ways you can help. Most people aren't going to do the research on their own unfortunately. As far as the ice bucket challenge, I have to say that a disease like ALS would be completely unknown to most without this viral opportunity. Cancer, alzheimers, diabetes, etc are more commonly known diseases that have a much easier time raising money since most people have been effected. I'm all for charities getting their name/cause out there in any way that makes it helpful. This is a fabulous read on the ice bucket challenge.

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  21. Me too!! I definitely think that if we did something like go to a lake, freeze some of that water and dump it back in the lake, then that's a better way for those of us with a drought. I am happy to see that I am not the only one who is conflicted. Of course we are not conflicted about the cause, but about some of the people doing it

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  22. I am definitely a supporter of the ALS organizations and the cause, but I just want people to think deeper!

    Also, isn't it crazy how the world has changed in the past few years with social media and awareness and websites like Indiegogo. I would love to see case studies on them!

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  23. I like to research organizations using Charity Navigator to look up where their funding goes. I actually found this interesting article on there about the Ice Bucket Challenge with the same concerns as mine. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1780#.U_PDdPldV1Y

    I wish that Susan G Komen foundation did more with the money because my mom just got diagnosed with breast cancer and I've been searching for a way to donate and give back where it would be more used toward my goal and aligned with my beliefs.

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  24. Thank you for linking! I am reading that post now :) I love that they have done it in the pool with water that was taken from the pool!! That is one of the best ways us, as Californians, can do it. I lived in the SFV two summers ago and didn't go in our apartment pool once! It is possible, just hot. I definitely think that they need to do more about the drought again! When we were kids they were always all over it, and since things were better they stopped stressing it. Now there are commercials all over saying we're in a drought, but not telling us what to do! I always try to say everything I can to get people to do what they can.

    I definitely agree that the awareness is wonderful. I think we should just be doing more now that we have everyone's attention.

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  25. I agree! We need to do as much as we can about everything.

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  26. No problem. I was in our apartment pool ALL THE TIME. Of course I don't sweat. I never have. I know I'm weird. When I first moved here, they had commercials on how to save water all the time, but I've noticed they disappeared and never came back. It's not that hard to just replay something they already have, but of course it does take money to pay for the ad space.


    That'll be up to the ALS charities, but I hope that they'll use the momentum to do something awesome.

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  27. Exactly!!! Did you ever take part in the Tap Project from UNICEF? I definitely think that we need to be doing everything we can to help people get clean drinking water all over the world. We often focus on it elsewhere and take advantage of it here, because we are in the middle class. There are plenty of people in California who don't have clean drinking water. Again, I definitely think that this is a great cause, but I think that we need to think deeper.

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  28. I am so glad that I am not the only one on this page!!

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  29. I haven't done the challenge personally & I'm not sure if I will take part, but I think the part that makes this cause different than Kony is people's ability to actually raise money rather than just raise awareness. The money is what will help in finding treatments & cures for this terrible disease.

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  30. MANDI! You said it so well!! That is exactly what I think of it - something to be case studied. I definitely think those are the reasons that many people are doing it, because they are being called out specifically.

    The original idea was that it gives you the temporary sensation a person feels with ALS. I have jumped in a lake filled with ice, as it snowed in my bathing suit. I neither lost my ability to walk home (by myself) or speak. Yes, my whole body was tingling and I probably was going to go into shock if I didn't get warm soon, but I don't think that that is the same sensation of losing your ability to walk, talk, eat, etc.

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  31. Krista KetterhagenAugust 19, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    I love working with clean drinking water programs. It's not because I work in the water industry, but because water is a vital resource for life. I am someone that will drink my melted ice cubes and turn the water off while shaving. I also think that if a challenge is what get people motivated there should be challenges for all sorts of diseases. With the massive amounts of money being raised so many things could be cured, but unfortunately this "giving" won't last forever. Perhaps people who are willing to donate the $10 to ALS this year would be willing to donate $10 to cancer treatments next year, aid/hiv the year after. We can't be a here and now society.

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  32. I was in the pool all the time as a kid, not realizing how much water they truly wasted. I don't sweat that much, either so it isn't THAT weird to me that you don't sweat.

    I agree, that there is so much that needs to be done for water conservation and I really hope the ALS organizations keep the momentum going with another education campaign.

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  33. I'm so glad you posted this. I'm really annoyed by the Ice Bucket Challenge for a few reasons. You bring up an excellent point with the wasted water and I definitely agree with you. However, I think that raising "awareness" and raising money are two entirely different things and only one of them makes an actual difference in the lives of people with ALS. In our fast-paced, hashtag activist society, our "awareness" of social issues lasts only as long as our attention spans allow, which isn't very long. I'm shocked that it's even lasted this long. I was not unfamiliar with ALS before this challenge went viral, but I'm glad that more people have at least heard of it now. My problem, at least with the people who I've seen posting it, is that in 99% of the posts I've seen, they don't mention ALS at all. I haven't seen anyone provide any information about the disease or how it affects those with it and they certainly don't provide a link to the foundation's website so that their followers can learn more or donate money. They aren't any more aware of the actual cause than they were before the hashtag showed up. They're just freezing now.

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  34. I've been having mixed feelings about this whole Ice Challenge but I couldn't really put it into words. So thank you for doing that for me :D

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  35. It is definitely a more complicated activism than it might seem.

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  36. I think it's a great way to spread awareness as well, but I wish people would talk more about ALS in their videos rather than "I'm doing this challenge and this is who I tag...". I really like you idea about sponsorship too.

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  37. It is a great way to spread awareness because it peaks interest, but I do agree - it's not explaining the purpose all that well. I wish it would be clearer what it was for, etc.

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  38. Such an awesome way to share awareness. ALS is such a rare disease, and I love that people are trying to raise awareness about it. Freezing cold water.... eeekk!

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  39. songbirdsandbuttonsAugust 19, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    I think it's catchy - especially on social media. But it's just so complicated, you're right!

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  40. I couldn't agree more! I get that it's supposed to raise awareness and money for ALS, but a big but I'm with you on the water issue. I'm also in SoCal and have a hard time watching every video from my SoCal friends/family.

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  41. It's funny I came across your post about this. I finally had it up to my eyeballs with this ice water challenge that I posted on my was I rebuke anyone from calling me into this - it's a waste of water and I HIGHLY doubt anyone is actually sending money in. Not only are 'little' people all over doing it - celebs are doing it with fire tanker trucks too. I would rather challenge someone to a soup kitchen hour, or help a widow pull weeds/mow/etc...

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  42. YES! EXACTLY!! Yes, some people are educated and more aware and some people are donating, but as a whole it is more of a fad thing than an explanation / awareness thing. This is why I mentioned Kony - it's 2 years later and I guarantee that there are still child soldiers, yet the majority of the US is not focused on helping them because they've FORGOTTEN about it!

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  43. You are so welcome! It took me awhile to figure out how to put it in words, too.

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  44. Thank you! I definitely think that the focus is not on the cause or how to help nearly as much as it should be.

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  45. It's catchy, but the follow through on support and actual information is lacking for me!! I only hope that we can all do all that we can!

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  46. EEk, our water is so precious right now!!

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  47. YES!!!!! Why can't we be challenging people to take ACTION!!!

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  48. I chose to donate but I think everyone has to make that decision for themselves and it just meant more to me to donate.

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  49. They've made more money on this challenge than they've made all last year, so I think it's an awesome thing. I agree with you that not only should people donate, but that HOPEFULLY are thinking and wanting to take more action than just dumping water on their heads. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

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  50. I feel like the ice bucket challenge EXPLODED in the last few days. But I agree. People really need to sit down or get out and take ACTION!

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  51. Very well written. I'm glad money is being raised for ALS but I've started to see ice water bucket 'challenges' for other causes popping up now too so it's definitely just becoming the 'thing to do'.

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  52. I agree, even small amounts of water wasted add up, especially with the growing popularity of this challenge! I've seen a lot of criticism over the whole thing.

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  53. It's totally a fad that I don't think half the people even know what's going on! Great post!

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  54. i'm so over it. :P i mean .. to each their own, but i would much rather support so many other things. i know jacob and his brother did it.. but mainly because people kept calling them out if they don't. i don't know why it's this thing that if you don't participate or donate.. something is wrong with you.. bc we prefer to donate our money to causes that are closer to our hearts.

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  55. I'm right there with you about people doing the challenge instead of donating. I'm in California too and I've seriously had it up to here with water wastage. I see it everywhere and UGH. Everyone is going to be really sorry when produce prices skyrocket. :(

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  56. I'm on the fence as well, but I think it's a great way to raise awareness! I hope other charities will develop social media marketing plans as well

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  57. I'm kinda over it too. I have read that they've raised four times as much money as last year. I've only had one friend that took the drought in California into account. She went to the beach and used ocean water with ice. It all just went back into the ocean.

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  58. I did the ice bucket challenge. My birthday is coming up, and since I always donate to a charity of my choice for my birthday, I said that for each like/comment I got on the post, I'd donate a dollar to the foundation.

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  59. They wanted people to talk about ALS, raise awareness and hopefully raise money. People are talking, awareness has been raised and they've raised more money than in previous years. Good things have come out of it and if people want to dump water over their heads to make people talk about something then what's the harm? Seriously.

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  60. Over $30 million have been raised in the last month, so I definitely think people are sending money in.

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  61. Thank you!! I definitely hope they are doing more than making themselves freeze

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  62. It really has! I saw someone doing it while I walked my dog earlier today! Not once did I hear them talking about ALS or awareness, just how they are going to film the video, and who they are tagging =/

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  63. Yeah =/ Unfortunately the focus is more on the ice bucket and less on the causes

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  64. I washed the dishes and took a shower today and felt like I was wasting water =/

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  65. Yes, I think the "guilt trip" part also makes me annoyed. I donate money to a cause every month - even if it is something small like volunteering my time at the food bank - but by choosing not to pour ice over my head, people have tried to make me feel guilty or like a wuss.

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  66. Exactly!! Not only that, but also when our drinking water gets dirtier and dirtier!! I am hoping this El Nino season brings us the water we desperately need.

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  67. I do hope that as many causes develop social media marketing as possible!!

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  68. luckily i haven't had anyone make ME feel bad.. but it is getting ridiculous.

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  69. That is a wonderful idea!!!! I would much prefer people to do that if they want to participate in the challenge :)

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  70. SEE that is the way to do it, Hima!!! You have such a great heart <3

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  71. Well, I don't think people are TRULY talking about ALS. Personally, I think that in a few months if you mention ALS everyone will be saying "What is that? Oh the ice bucket thing." Some people will remember and continue to make a difference, but I think that the majority of people are doing it to look good and philanthropic instead of actually taking the time to care. As I mentioned I think that it is great that it is viral, but asking people to think deeper about the challenge.

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  72. It is!!! The people who tried are the people who don't actually know me, though so I didn't take offense.

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  73. I guess that's the difference then because some people ARE truly talking about ALS and some people will remember in a few months and will continue to make a difference. If 100,000 people do the ice bucket challenge (and I'm just making up a number because I'm sure it's much, much more than that) and in year only 100 people remember and are still involved isn't that better than there being no challenge and 0 people remembering and being involved? Sure, everyone isn't doing it for the right reason, everyone won't remember, everyone won't donate and everyone won't care but SOME will and that should be the most important thing. Don't tear something down because everyone isn't doing it for the right reasons, instead try to be happy that some people are being affected and, even if it is only for a short time, some people are curious, some people are paying attention and some people are involved. It's all in perspective I guess.

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  74. I think it's more about the awareness with this challenge. It's been all over the place and celebrities are taking part too, which despite their good intentions takes the attention away from the actual charity.

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  75. I'm not trying to tear it down, I was giving my reasons for not pouring ice on my head and donating instead, while asking people to think deeper about their involvement. Sharing my opinion isn't tearing it down, it's just sharing my opinion. I agree that it is better in the long run that those 100 more people are knowledgeable and I felt inspired by the origin special I watched on SportsCenter. I have actually been brainstorming OTHER ways to keep raising awareness of diseases like this.

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  76. I think another reason it may be tough is because no ONE charity has been highlighted (which is both good or bad). Good because many organizations can get donations, but bad because it makes it easier for people to not donate. I think originally it was about awareness, but it is being lost in most videos.

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  77. Aww thank you Raewyn! This comment seriously made my day (: I'm really excited about it- we've raised over $350 so far on Facebook and Instagram combined.

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  78. That is SO SO AWESOME!!!! I am so excited about that donation! I'm glad I could make your day - but seriously, your heart is so filled with good. You have an awesome future ahead of you!

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  79. I agree that it has touched the lives of many!!

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