Why The Ice Bucket Challenge Matters

Editor’s Note: Previous to publishing this post, the HelloGiggles’ took the ice bucket challenge (you can see us getting soaked with ice right here). Though there’s been some criticism of the initiative, it’s also done quite a bit of good, raising awareness and a substantial amount of money for ALS.

What do the New York Giants, Lil Wayne, Jimmy Fallon, Martha Stewart, and many Boston College Alumni have in common? They’ve all completed the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” a now viral movement, to raise awareness for ALS.

ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In short, the disease causes muscles to weaken and decrease in mass, and causes difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing. Individuals afflicted with the disease may eventually lose all voluntary movement. To date, it is unclear what causes this debilitating disease.

The #icebucketchallenge raises awareness for ALS, as well as benefits the ALS Foundation and the research that they do. Once you are nominated, you have 24 hours to accept the challenge. You then create a short video explaining that you are about to dump ice water on your head in support of ALS, you pour the water, and then you nominate three more people to do the same.

It’s not a new idea. In fact, earlier this summer, Matt Lauer and Martha Stewart took on the challenge. However, since July 31st, the idea has become a craze thanks in part to Boston College alum and former BC Baseball Captain, Pete Frates. Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 at age 27.

Frates was nominated by his friend Patrick Quinn, who also has ALS to take on the challenge. Since then, support has flown through the BC and sports communities and beyond, to support the ALS Foundation and Pete Frates in their efforts to #strikeoutALS. Students, alumni, the Boston Police, athletes, and celebs have all participated and the love is still spreading.

As many of us can tell simply by looking at our Facebook newsfeeds, the support and participation has been incredible, but I guess with all things in our social and cynically-driven society, we all must answer to the hater brigade who are asking variations of the question, “So like, this is cool and all, but like what is it doing for ALS?” The answer is, the challenge has truly made an impact and achieved results.

In an interview with ELLE.com, Frates’ wife Julie clarified, “”I want to make it so clear that this is to raise awareness for what the disease is,” she says. “Not only do we not have any kind of treatment, we don’t even know what causes it. Just for people to know the severity of the disease and what we’re up against is all we can ask for.” However, people are donating too. Julie received a call from the ALS foundation that donations were up 1,000% from what they were this time last year. The foundation is now reporting that they have raised, between July 31 and now, $5.7 million dollars for ALS research in comparison to $1.2 million during that time period last year.

If you haven’t been nominated already and want to participate–nominate yourself and keep the movement going! The “Ice Bucket Challenge” is for a great cause and is also a lot of fun. Make sure to mention ALS in your video and encourage others to learn more and donate. Some of my favorite videos so far are below.

Matt Lauer

Martha Stewart

The New York Giants


Jimmy Fallon

Justin Timberlake




If you’d like to learn more about ALS or make a donation visit alsa.org or petefrates.com.