Results of the Ice Bucket Challenge
Start writing a post
Arts Entertainment

Did You Participate In The Ice Bucket Challenge?

Do You Know What Happened After All The Noise Died Down?

Ice Bucket Challenge

Although disabled people make up a large percentage of internet users, it wasn't until 2014 that a social media campaign focusing on a profound disability was used to change the world's view of a life-altering medical condition. The "Ice Bucket Challenge" was a mitigated success that taught many lessons beyond how it feels to have Lou Gehrig's Disease, but it had a purely organic beginning. So organic were its roots that the organization the campaign would fund knew nothing about the social media hashtag and where the funds were originating until several weeks into it.

In the summer of 2014, a social media campaign was launched by a personal challenge to encourage donations for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease" by the ALS Association:

A challenge was issued to an individual to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. That individual then had 24 hours to either donate $100 to the ALS Association or to douse themselves with a bucket of ice water. Many people opted to do both.

It can be traced back to a personal event that July. "It was not like traditional health campaigns that were created by official associations, but an activity that went viral on social media at first and was then reorganized by the ALS Association."

The first incidence of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" related to ALS was issued by Chris Kennedy on Twitter to his wife's cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband Anthony has ALS. Chris was hoping to cheer Anthony up, with this tweet, "Thanks @JonBullas. You're up next @KevinAylwin, Jeanette Senerchia and @mattdodson7 #IceBucketChallenge" on Jul 15, 2014 he had no idea what he had started. He had just made the official first "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge."

After the first challenge was thrown down, it took just a short time to go viral. In an article written in August of 2014 for Time, Alexandra Sifferlin traced the virility of the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge to a man named Pete Frates in Boston who is an active member of the ALS online community. Pete had been challenged by a man named Pat Quinn for whom Pete was a mentor and fellow ALS sufferer.

Pete's extensive network took a hold of the hashtag and it spread like wildfire. "Frates posted his own video on Facebook on July 31, using both the hashtags #StrikeOutALS and #Quinnforthewin—and that's when the campaign really went viral."

During the 8-week viral campaign, the ALS Association, or ALSA received millions in contributions. ALSA's website claims the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge netted $115 million in donations. ALSA's site also provides a detailed list of where the donations have been allocated.

Not only did the organization gain money for research of this disease that attacks adults from the ages of 40-70, but the challenge got people talking about the disease and searching for more information. The change in the level of awareness about ALS has been significant.

Beyond money and awareness, there was a third effect. The funding went partially towards a development that was announced in 2016 that "identified a new gene associated with the disease, which experts say could lead to new treatment possibilities."

Unfortunately, no other campaign, in fact, absolutely no non-organic social media campaign designed to raise disability awareness in the history of media has ever gone viral. If the Internet is to truly "give voice to those typically denied expression," the disabled are the group that fits the best within that category, but when will social media campaigns represent them as a valued audience?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments