This time last year I didn't drink coffee. Couldn't stand…
You must have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the latest viral fund raising challenge to sweep the world. Social media is full of this one. Started as a fund raising idea for ALS as it is known in the US, or MND in the UK, the idea is a painfully simple one. Get challenged to have an ice bucket of water and ice cubes tipped over your head, do it and donate a lesser amount to the charity. Don’t do it and donate a greater amount.
Everybody from David and Victoria Beckham to Anna Wintour and Daisy Lowe have done it this week
And me. Yes me.
I was challenged to do it by Annie who hadn’t actually done it herself but I like doing things for charity and so agreed to do my bit. For two reasons primarily. One I had read an article in the Telegraph the day before that made me a bit grumpy with the author, Michael Hogan. I think he only wrote it so he could use the headline “Why the Ice Bucket Challenge leaves me cold“.
Raising money for charity is hard. Damned hard. I know. We haven’t been involved in the raising of over £40K for Comic Relief by sending a few tweets and asking a few people to bung the charity a couple of quid. And ALS/MND knew that they wouldn’t be able to raise millions that why either. You need a thing. You need something to inspire people to get involved. To think that they can do something and that their money will make a difference.
Which is exactly what this challenge has done. Raising millions of Dollars and Pounds and awareness. And that awareness is also crucial. To get into the human conscience these days means breaking through all the other noise and chatter that we are constantly bombarded by. Getting your voice heard above all others. And that too is impossible most of the time. The only way we will ever raise awareness of charities is by talking about them. Talking about them now so people think to donate money to them to allow them to do research and support sufferers, and longer term by thinking about leaving money in our wills.
I must admit that I didn’t really know a huge amount about Motor Neurone Disease last week, but I do now. I have read about it. Learned about it. I have learned that there are support groups around the country. That triggers for the cause of the disease could be environmental as well as genetic. Knowing that, or at least researching this link means we might be closer to a cure:
“MND is a devastating condition. By finding the causes we will be able to find the cure. That’s what we have to do.”
- Ammar Al Chalabi, Professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics, King’s College London
On the MND website they say this about why this challenge is important
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord.
There is no cure but the MND Assocation funds and promotes research that leads to new understanding and treatments, and brings us closer to a cure for MND. We also provide services to support people living with, or affected by, MND.
The MND Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning.
To begrudge this charity what they have done in raising awareness and money, in my opinion just feels a bit mean spirited quite frankly. As is the cry of “oh what a waste of ice and water”. Please. That’s like saying we shouldn’t hold concerts for Africa or eat a second helping of cake because people are starving in the world. Charity doesn’t work like that. It isn’t that simple.
I am also not sure I agree with Macmillan Cancer now trying to hijack it and have people do the challenge for them instead. Yes, of course, that means they are getting donations, which is great, but that takes away from MND. Get your own challenge Macmillan!
So rightly or wrongly, I did it. And I donated £50 to Motor Neurone Disease. Charity begins at home and if I can do something at home to raise money, well don’t begrudge me that. Please.