A social-media phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is raising awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and giving people goosebumps across North America.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began in Boston, Massachusetts when former Boston College baseball captain Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehring’s disease, a terminal illness with a life expectancy of two to five years after being diagnosed.
From there, ice water began dripping down the backs of people across the United States and eventually spreading to Canada.
There are very simple rules to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Once a person is nominated, they have 24 hours to either donate $100 to ALS research or donate $10 and dump a bucket, big or small, over their heads on video.
The idea is to then post your video to your desired social media site (often Facebook) and nominate three of your friends.
Several George Brown College Huskies have taken on the challenge to raise awareness for ALS starting with 2014’s most valuable player, Vadim Halimov, who broke three provincial basketball records last season and is back as an assistant coach this season.
From there, basketball head coach Jonathan Smith has accepted as well as the athletics member service specialist, Wendy Roberts-Simpson, athletics and recreation co-ordinator Courtney Warren and Frederico Cortez, athletic supervisor.
Much like the majority of people accepting their nominations, Vadim Halimov had no idea what ALS was. “My research was very light. I wanted to know only the origins of the challenge,” Halimov admits before he drenched himself. “I watched celebrities do it in their own creative ways. I got a few complaints that my video was pretty plain.”
Roberts-Simpson, had some background knowledge of ALS before being nominated but little knowledge of the ice bucket challenge. Roberts-Simpson says she watched Rob Ford and others dump a bucket of iced water over his head to raise awareness.
“At first, I thought those people were crazy! I never thought I would be doing it myself,” said Roberts-Simpson.
Both Halimov and Roberts-Simpson are donating to an ALS foundation. Halimov said, “I’ve had a conversation with my friends and we are planning on making the challenge count.”
While Roberts-Simpson says she did not originally donate after completing the challenge, “I have been thinking about it, why should I just throw water on myself to bring awareness? It is my plan to donate.”
Warren has other plans in mind. “I try to be green as possible, I don’t want to waste water. People will say, ‘It’s only one bucket’ but if everyone is doing it that is a lot of wasted water. I would rather give the water to those in need.”
Warren has accepted challenge to donate to an ALS charity as well as Engineers Without Borders, a foundation focused on enabling rural Africans the opportunity to get access to clean water.
Since the challenge erupted on social media, celebrities including Drake, Justin Timberlake and even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been challenged to dose themselves with ice water to raise awareness—and they sure helped make a splash.
The ALS Association says Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $53 million as of Aug. 22 compared to $2.2 million during the same time period last year.
More George Brown College Huskies taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The Dialog’s staff reporter Brittany Barber also did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.