Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pros and Cons of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Most likely you have heard of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge".

It's been quite the social media phenomena lately. Every day a Facebook friend is posting their ice bucket challenge for the world to see. Even some of my favorite celebrities, such as Jack Johnson,  have taken the challenge.

I'm not sure, but I think Peter Frates started the challenge. Here is a 7 minute video that tells his story:

I too, have been both publically and privately, challenged to dump ice water on my head and donate to the ALS Association. Initially, without thinking much, I was going to jump on board. Sure I had a couple of concerns but they were minor.

But then, like I do before donating to any organization, I started researching the ALS association.
So after much thought and prayer, I have come up with a list of pros and cons to participating in the ice bucket challenge for the ALSA.


  1. The "Ice Bucket Challenge" is bringing much needed worldwide attention to a devastating/lethal disease for which there is currently no cure. Watch this video for an idea of how devastating the disease is.
  2. The Challenge proves once again that Americans are some of the most generous people on earth. 
  3. Millions of people are coming together to do what is seemingly a good thing. The "Ice Bucket Challenge" reminds me of "The March of Dimes" that President Roosevelt started in 1938 to combat polio. It makes my heart so happy any time a large body of people join together to do good of any sort.
  4. People are getting really creative in how they dump cold water on themselves. I especially enjoy videos of my friend's kids getting involved. So cute!
  1. The ALS association uses embryonic stem cells in their research. Don't take my word for it. Check out their website and read for yourself: .  Honestly a few years ago this may not have bugged me as much as it does now. But the older I get, and the more women that I meet that want nothing more than to be able to conceive and carry a baby to term (myself included)... the more I struggle with abortion. I believe there is a time and a place for abortion: for the safety of the mother or in a rape victim situation. And I believe it should be a woman's decision what she does with her body. But that doesn't mean that I need to support her decision or support an organization that uses embryonic stem cells. To kill a life for research in hopes that said research will some day save a life, just does not make sense to me. Why try to save one life but not the other? I don't get it. 
  2. I spent three months volunteering at an orphanage in Zimbabwe back in 2004. Safe drinking water was really hard to come by. We had to boil our water so it was safe to drink or bathe in. It got really old, really quick, for this spoiled American. A part of me cringes every time I see perfectly good water wasted in these challenges. And people are trying to outdo each other with how much water is being dumped.  True, not everyone is wasting the water. Some people are doing the challenge in such a way that the water is being used for something else (which is great). Or they are doing things like jumping in cold lakes. Like noted above, the creativity is great! But I can't help but wonder what kind of message we are sending to people in places such as Africa, where 345 million are without access to water. Kudos to the ALS Association for putting the following suggestion on their website: "Please be thoughtful about water usage. If you’re in an area of the country or world affected by drought, please consider making a donation instead, or repurpose the water for later use."
  3. Donations are way way way up for the ALS Association.  According to the ALSA website, "As of Wednesday, August 27, The ALS Association has received $94.3 million in donations compared to $2.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 27). These donations have come from existing donors and 2.1 million new donors." Making a donation to a non profit organization is kinda like making an investment. Before I invest my money in stocks for example, I want to know what kind of track record those stocks have had. How has the company done in the past 5 years? 10? 30? I'd be curious to know how the ALSA is doing a year from now. They have never experienced this kind of attention or donations. I sincerely hope they are good stewards; time will tell. And this is putting aside that even one dollar towards embryonic stem cell research is is no bueno in my opinion. 
  4. And then there's Matthew 6:1-4, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.  When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.  But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." I used the New Living Translation. I believe that the Bible is God's inspired word and is meant for instruction on how to live this crazy thing called "life" here on planet earth. The "Ice Bucket Challenge" has morphed into a good-deeds-social-media-peer-pressure phenomena. Admittedly, a very interesting phenomena. 
That concludes my list. And what do you know, it's a tie. However, the cons far outweigh the pros in my opinion. I've obviously put much thought and prayer into this, and I encourage you to do the same. Perhaps you will come to a different conclusion, and that's ok! One of the many blessings of living in this country is that we each get to make the choice as to how we will or will not spend our money. We each get to choose what we will put on social media. Yay for freedom. 

  • I don't judge anyone for doing the ice bucket challenge and donating to the ALSA. I realize that 99.99% of the people "dumping and donating" are doing so with nothing but good intentions. Which is a beautiful thing. 
  • I would be completely delusional if I thought for a second that I never waste water. Truth is, I waste water on a daily basis. But I honestly do cringe at these ice bucket videos, because I do think about my friends in Zimbabwe who carry buckets of dirty water on their heads (for miles) and here we are purposely dumping clean water on our heads. I'm not gonna get mad at anyone for wasting water. If anything it's caused me to evaluate how I can be a better steward of water. 
  • My husband and I aren't scrooges. We have an "open hand" policy when it comes to our money... we err on the side of generosity. I believe and support giving! Giving is often more of a blessing to the giver than it is to the receiver. So do it! Give your money away! But please, if possible, research where your money is going. Don't just give 'cause it's the current fad.  If you have a burden for ALS research... May I suggest donating to the Mayo Clinic? They do ALS research and I haven't come across any red flags (let me know if you do). 
  • I sincerely hope and pray that a cure is discovered for ALS. 
  • I believe in Jesus and I believe in the Bible, but in no way do I claim to be perfect or have all the answers like Jesus does. 
  • Invedibetly someone somewhere is going to disagree with this blog post. And that's ok. I just ask that your comments/messages be kind and thoughtful in nature. I won't read mean words, so you will be wasting your time.
  • Perhaps you are thinking "I regret donating to the ASLA." My advice would be, don't regret it. When you donated it was with the best of intentions. Contact the organization and voice your concerns or what you disagree with. Use this as a learning lesson for the next time you are considering donating to an organization. 
  • I'm not an expert on the subject, but I don't have a problem with adult stem cell research. No one is killed in the process. Educate me.
Well I'm glad I got this off my chest (so to speak). Now my husband won't have to hear me ramble on about what my video would look like, or how I'm going to dump water without wasting water... poor Ryan. haha :)

God is love,

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