Sometimes the timing of things makes me think I should pause and take a closer look. Over the weekend, a friend and I went to visit another friend’s Dad who has ALS. On the way home from this visit, I was listening to NPR & heard an interview with Nancy Frates on the TED Radio Hour. The show featured clips of Nancy’s TED talk about why her family started (and how much they invested themselves into) the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Hint: Her son, Pete, has ALS.
I remember being amazed in the Summer of 2014 by how quickly the Ice Bucket Challenge took off and grew. Hearing Nancy’s story and reading more of the history of the challenge on the ALS Association website, I’m impressed by how much quick thinking and creativity was invested in fueling the movement while it was in its prime and how much dedication and effort continues to go into supporting research and the search for treatments and a cure. I also know how much creative experimentation, love, and sheer hard work go into caring for an individual with ALS.
Certainly the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had its share of detractors, people who critiqued it for a variety of reasons. Some labeled it ‘slactivisim’ (a too-easy brand of activism fueled by emotion). Others questioned its impact. The ALS Association has posted a helpful info graphic that shows some of the results that have come from both the funds raised and the increased awareness that was generated by the movement (this is just a clip – click to see the full graphic):
I wanted to draw attention to this topic in today’s blog post, not because I feel qualified to make any sweeping general judgments about the Ice Bucket Challenge itself but because I think it’s a story that demonstrates creativity in a unique way (my blog is all about creativity in various forms) and because I think it’s worth thinking about what factors come into play to make things like this spark to life.
What does it say about us as humans that we continue to try to raise awareness of and support for causes that are important to us . . . or that sometimes we don’t continue trying? I ask the last part of that question with zero judgment. I know that sometimes life doesn’t allow us to try, sometimes we’re fatigued or overwhelmed, and I know we can’t all always be trying about everything, but I feel grateful that we live in a world where there’s such a thing as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (and the American Cancer Society . . . and World Vision . . . and adoptive parents . . . and people who volunteer at local food banks . . . and without getting too cheesy, people who are simply as kind as they can be and as willing as they can be to admit it when they don’t feel like being kind and need a bit of grace) . . . It inspires me.
If you read this & think it might be of interest to anyone you know, would you pass it along? I’d also love to hear any of your thoughts about it if you’d leave a comment for me below.
Wishing you a week that’s full of kindness and grace,
P.S. This isn’t a pressure thing, but if you donated to ALS during the Ice Bucket Challenge but haven’t thought of it since then, or if you have never given to this cause, and have any interest in giving, please click here.
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