If you’d told me a couple of weeks ago that I would voluntarily stand out in my back garden and pour three buckets of icy cold water over my head in the name of charity I’d have told you where to go. Fact!
However on Saturday I did just that and don’t regret a second – or a drop – of it.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a bucket you can’t have failed to notice the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is sweeping –or should that be flooding? – the world at present.
If you have missed the story, the idea is that you dowse yourself in icy cold water (usually standing in one bucket, pouring two over your head then stepping out and dumping the third over for good measure) and you nominate friends and family to rise to the challenge within 24/48 hours. If your nominees rise to the challenge they donate £3; if they decline then the forfeit is a £10 donation. ( if you’re in the UK that is- amounts vary per country) Simple.
But how did it all start? We’ve all been doing it or watching others drown and shiver but what was the trigger?
This all began in Florida in mid-July when a Mr Kennedy was nominated by a friend on the golf course to rise to the challenge. At that point it wasn’t connected to a specific charity but Mr Kennedy chose to donate to ALS because a family member suffers from the disease. He then nominated his cousin’s wife to take the challenge and the rest is history.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a form of Motor Neurone Disease. These incurable illnesses attack the nerves in the body called motor neurones. These are the nerves that control our muscles. It doesn’t affect every sufferer the same way but ultimately there is no cure at present and invariably sufferers pass away from respiratory failure.
Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with short videos of politicians, sports stars, rock stars and celebrities and a whole cast of regular caring humans all willing to suffer a soaking in the name of a good cause and to heighten awareness of ALS/MND. Some of these videos are hilarious, I’ll not deny it, but they also highlight the power of peer pressure beautifully. The vast majority of us who have been nominated or “called out” have succumbed. Age is no barrier here either- everyone from toddlers to pensioners the world over are being drenched of their own free will. Are you really going to the one who was nominated and didn’t partake?
And to the family and friends that I nominated shortly before my own icy buckets rained down on me, thank you from the bottom of my heart and proving you’re all good sports by rising to the challenge.
Here’s my #icebucketchallenge. Dammit, it was cold!