#IceBucketChallenge – But What Does It REALLY Mean?

If you happen to be a Facebook user, chances are good that your timeline has been inundated with homemade videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The viral trend has been all over social media, not to mention on the news, in schools and businesses. So, how did this start and what’s all the fuss about anyways?

The story begins with Peter Frates, a former college baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When the motor neurons degenerate and eventually die, the brain can no longer initiate or control muscle movement; the patient may become completely paralyzed. Earlier this summer, it was Frates’ friends and family who embraced the ice bucket challenge and began raising awareness for ALS (which is now commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). They nominated others in their videos, who then nominated others yet, and the rest they say… is history.
Now here’s how the challenge works: prepare a large bucket of cold water (add some ice of course!) and get your video camera ready. Begin by thanking the person who nominated you and then nominate a few others to take the challenge. Typically, if the nominated people do not take the challenge within 24 hours, they must donate to the ALS Association (however, most people have chosen to donate regardless if they take the challenge or not). And then, it’s the time everybody has been waiting for!Proceed to dump the entire bucket of cold water and ice over your head; many friends, family and even strangers get plenty of enjoyment out of your reaction.
The challenge may seem simple (a bit silly,too!) but to the ALS Association, it’s very serious. There have been 2.4 million posts on Facebook with #icebucketchallenge and 28 million people have uploaded, liked or commented on those posts. The ALS Association has raised $98.2 million this year, compared to $2.7 million last year, according to BBC News. With numbers and social media attention like that, Plymouth Foam graciously accepted a nomination and took the challenge.
Our challenge consisted of Mark Schuh and Mike Brown taking the challenge and a donation was made to the ALS Association; later David Bolland was nominated and graciously accepted. We had a great time and knowing it was all for a good cause made it even better!
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