F*#k that Disease: Why The Ice Bucket Challenge Makes Me Happy


Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I fully admit to taking advantage of a loophole in the ice bucket challenge.  There are no written rules and so my challenge included wearing a yellow rain poncho.  No judgments please.

I successfully avoided the challenge for weeks.  I didn’t talk about it with friends or strangers, I didn’t ‘like’ the videos and I didn’t comment on the articles.  I avoided the entire movement altogether, hoping to be spared the shock of ice cold water on my head.  It didn’t work.

My dear, old friend accepted the ALS ice bucket challenge and passed it on to me with these words:  I nominate Jean Marie so she can blog about how happy this makes her.

If I didn’t know her better, I might have sensed a touch of sarcasm embedded in that challenge.  But I’ve known her a long time and I’m absolutely certain she truly was trying to make me happy.  Isn’t she sweet?  (Grumbling eye roll).

I am a fundraiser.  It’s what I do for a living.  Watching this ice bucket challenge go viral and listening to the mixed reactions it has spawned has been interesting.  I read one article that denounced the challenge, siting research studies that proved that giving to one charitable organization takes away from other charitable organizations.  As a non-profiteer herself, the author felt that this was unfair and did more harm than good.  I can’t argue the fact that other charities may lose out on potential donors.  Realistically, very few of us have disposable incomes that allow us to haphazardly give to every organization that seems worthy of our attention.  So then, should we shun this challenge?  Demand that the ALS Foundation divide the money equally among other charitable organizations that might have received those donations if not for this challenge?  Indignantly delete and/or ignore all references to its existence because its brilliance is taking something away from me and my charity?

To the author of that article, I say get over it! 

If this were my fundraiser – my brilliant idea – and I single-handedly managed to raise millions of dollars for JDRF in the span of a month, I would be elated.  I would be thrilled for the opportunity to shine a fleeting spotlight on my organization and the important work that we do.  I would be thrilled to have a captive audience learning about the disease that my families live with every day.  And I would be ecstatic about the amount of money that – this year – would be directed toward our mission.  And I am absolutely positive that the author of the article denouncing the ALS ice bucket challenge would, without apology, feel exactly the same way about her own organization.  I don’t hold that against her.

There are countless organizations out there doing good.  Every one of us who works for or with one of these organizations believes that our work is the most important work.  Ours is the most important because we work with the families that are affected every single day and we want a win for them.  We want to be able to say F&*k that disease – we beat it! 

I want JDRF to come up with the next million dollar idea but, until then, I will happily watch in awe as the ALS Foundation takes full advantage of their moment in the spotlight and I am going to hope that, with our collective buckets, we helped them to say F&*k that disease – we beat it!

Whether you’ve dumped a bucket on your head or are just thinking about it, check out the ALS Foundation online or watch the story of Peter Frates – this guy will convince you to dump that bucket on your head.



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