I’ve been tagged to do the ALS Challenge, or as others know it the “ice bucket challenge”, a couple times but I wanted to explain why I am choosing not to do it.
It’s not that I don’t support research in curing terrible diseases or anything like that. There are a few things I thought about this week as videos and challenges soared everywhere in the news, and I think it’s great that so many people want to gather support through social participation of awareness.
Here are a couple things as to why it’s not for me & I won’t be doing it myself:
1. If I want to make donations for any kind of disease awareness, I’m just going to give the money without any strings attached. I don’t like the subtle manipulation that takes place when I see “I will give $– per person who completes the challenge” or better yet, when it’s communicated like this, “IF you do the challenge, then I’ll send my money in.” Your generosity is not and should not be contingent on my participation in a social experiment. If you’re going to give money to an organization, then just do it without it being tied to how others participate.
2. While I know ALS (or Lous Gehring’s Disease) is a terrible infirmity that many people suffer from, there are still countless diseases and conditions out there that are in the exact same boat. Personally, I’d rather support a cause that I have a personal attachment in some way to. For instance, I’ve had family members overcome or die from various forms of cancer. I know kids who are battling cancer (brain, leukemia, etc) and I know that there is only one FDA approved medication for treatment of cancer with kids so most of these kids are using medications that have only been approved for adults! I have friends who are themselves or have children suffering from MS (Multiple Sclerosis), CP (Cerebral Palsy), Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and Autism. Not to mention other causes which my heart is completely enthralled in helping stop: Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, etc. There are so many other causes and campaigns that I am closer involved with than ALS – I think they are all important.
3. I also want to make sure that no matter where I give my money, the tenets of the organization line up with my beliefs as well. I don’t want to unwittingly be supporting and furthering certain medical and research practices that I disagree with (like embryonic stem cell cases for instance) when I am vehemently pro-life. Ethics in giving for me is somewhat the same as ethics in shopping. As much as can, I want to ensure that my money doesn’t cause more harm than good. I don’t want Paul to buy me jewelry from a store that doesn’t ensure “conflict-free gems“, I don’t want to buy brand-names that have their clothing made in sweat-shops in Asia, India, Bangladesh, etc. I want to exert discernment in where my money goes and I research everything in order to do so, as far as I can tell.
For these reasons, I will not be participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but in no way am I saying others can’t or shouldn’t. Rather, we are supporting the Center for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking instead.
The challenge is a genius idea to get the masses involved in this social exercise of awareness. My hope is that through this, other charities, organizations and research efforts will be made across the board.