Thee Angel Project

A year of writing a little bit of everything. Writers Write, Right?

ice bucket challenge…convince me


I’ve been challenged. You probably have too. The pages of social media are filled, top to bottom, with videos of people I love being doused and it is a ton of fun to watch. I’m not sure how I feel about it though. It is certainly a fantastically orchestrated campaign, and the fact that its success is accidental makes it even more appealing.

Here’s where I struggle, I don’t actually know anyone who has or is suffering from ALS. No one. I know that shouldn’t matter. But it does.

Before you start throwing things, here’s why…

There are so many battles to fight. There are so many debilitating diseases that are claiming the lives of people I know. I do know people with epilepsy and diabetes and lupus and leukemia and celiac disease and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and crohn’s and heart disease and autism and multiple sclerosis and bipolar disorder. You get the point.

And then there’s this…

I want desperately to make sure expectant mothers have diapers for their babies and children in Haiti can have shoes for their feet and missionaries can do their thing across the globe. I want to take on all of them, and while I would love to be a professional philanthropist, I cannot. (I would be willing to play one for a time though, so if anyone has a cool $1m sitting around ready to be designated….I’m your girl.)

Do I give money to a worthy cause just because someone I care about has someone they care about with ALS? Shouldn’t our giving be generous and constant and not based upon what’s trendy but instead upon the surplus that God gives us each day? Shouldn’t we have a plan? Shouldn’t we stick to it?

Should our giving be a fad that we look back upon fondly as that time I did that thing and helped those people, or should it be something more?

I would imagine that when you love someone who is fighting a terrible disease that seems to be ignored by much of the world, this kind of validation is much appreciated. I do not dispute the fact that it is needed. I’m just conflicted. I want it to be about more than water and ice and ten bucks. I want any type of movement such as this to be done by people that are in it for the long haul.

What are you in for the long haul? Is this it?

I’m gonna need more than 24 hours. In fact, by the time I’ve made this decision, the whole world will quite possibly have moved onto a whole other thing and I’ll just be the crazy lady next door pouring ice water all over herself.

I will tell you this, if I do indeed take the challenge, I will not do so in this manner.

Really Oprah? Come on! What is the deal with the dozen or so ice cubes and the teaspoon of water? The Huffington Post said it was done, “Brilliantly.” Um, no.

Now, this. This is how it should be done.

This is a great opportunity to know more about the unknowns of whatever organization is made better by the sharing of your gifts. I also think this is a great opportunity to talk about why we give and to whom. Let’s do that. Convince me…either way…convince me.


Author: Heather

I want you to see life the way I see it. Often contradictory, seldom predictable, many times lovely, occasionally tragic, but every day filled with God's grace.

15 thoughts on “ice bucket challenge…convince me

    • I was concerned about this. I had heard, or read, or seen a hint of this somewhere else, but didn’t know for sure if it was accurate. It is so important to take more than 24 hours, how ever long is needed, to really find out how our gifts are going to be used by whomever we decide to support! Thank you Kara!

      • the pro life angle is my concern as well, first. But if that is settled (and there are charities out there that are in line with those values for ALS)… I’m still conflicted. I wouldn’t say it is WRONG to participate. But I don’t like… I don’t know … the feeling of it being something you HAVE to do or you are a heartless person….
        will read more comments and your latest post before I say more

  1. I think not everyone is called to give to every cause, or that everyone is called to become a champion for every cause. The ALS campaign is a brilliant awareness campaign. Many people are connecting ALS to Lou Gehrig’s disease for the first time ever, or are learning of the tragedies of the disease. However, this challenge almost turns into a guilt challenge. When your friends tell you to give money to a cause or dump ice water over your head (or both) it becomes a guilt gift.

    I had friends doing the ice bucket challenge before it became about ALS. Originally it was a challenge to donate $100 to your favorite charity of choice or dump a bucket of ice over your head. Then a baseball player who was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago challenged his friends to do it in his honor. Because he had famous friends, it went viral. (there’s a background video here:

    Honestly, if I do the ice bucket challenge, I will take it back to the original challenge and quietly donate to a charity of my choice and choose not to dump ice. At this point, I probably won’t post a video or anything because it will be instantly associated with ALS instead of my charity.

    • It has been terrific for promoting awareness about ALS. I have learned much and will continue to do more reading. I have thought a lot about the challenge itself this week though and I agree Crystal, with all of it. Thank you for your thoughts and for the link.

  2. I have not, and would not, do this challenge (at least in it’s current form, which is not how it was originally intended), for many of the same reasons you outline here. (Although, I do know someone who died from ALS. Not sure if that really makes a difference, though.) What I have found, however, is no one wants to talk about these points, and if you bring them up people look at you like you are some sort of uncaring monster for not going along. I shared an article about it recently, and people were Facebook yelling at me for just bringing it up. I took it down, because people are so emotionally attached now (um, why?) that they can’t even think straight. It’s not that it’s not wonderful for the ALS organizations that are receiving donations. It’s just that there is SO much more to be unpacked from this challenge (psychologically and financially speaking) that people don’t like to consider. Thank you for sharing this.

    • I’m sorry you weren’t able to share your opinion without respectful discussion. These topics are so heated and are difficult to discuss when we’re not sitting across the table from one another. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Valerie!

  3. Right, ladies.
    I feel like the only options you have when you have been “challenged” are 1. slinking away quietly, with guilt of course or 2. sounding your trumpets and giving like everyone else.
    I suppose there’s always 3. Come up wiht a reasonable and sound reply that challenges everyone to rethink this, but who has time for that? And how can that even be done WELL on facebook and so forth?

    • I agree. It puts people in an awkward position if you either choose to or have to say no, regardless of the reason.
      Online responses are always a challenge, because what sounds good and right and respectful in my head may not be read as such by everyone. This is a difficult topic. Thank you Emily for weighing in!

    • Or…#4? Maybe your sound reply is to counter challenge them? “Wow. Sounds like a lot of pressure. I have a challenge for YOU. Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. Since there is nothing in my pocket book that could affect any of these people more than an act of God (even a small one), I challenge you to pray everyday for these people or the cause for 30 days. If you miss a day, pull your ice out with your left hand–and don’t let the right hand know what you’re doing.” Because it shouldn’t be about us, it’s about them.
      As a health care professional, I have worked with people with ALS (and every other imaginable ailment you could think of), and in the end most of them would agree that they want PRAYER more than anything–more than money–even if they didn’t know Christ.

      • Good thoughts Deborah. I struggle with that left hand, right hand thing. I absolutely believe in it and want to do it. I also want to make others aware of opportunities and teach my children to be generous. I know it can be done rightly. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  4. Very interesting points you’ve raised here Heather. I was challenged and did participate. 24 hours felt rushed… especially if you’re bringing about awareness. I’m a bit embarrassed about it but I Googled ALS because I wasn’t quite sure what it was – so I guess in some aspects it was successful in awareness-building for me.

    Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

    • That has been a great aspect of the campaign, getting people to know about ALS that just the famous athlete that suffered from it. It is beginning to reclaim its name and that awareness is a great thing. I certainly needed more than 24 hours to investigate and decide. Blessings on your week!

  5. Thank you for reading my post on this topic. I didn’t address this aspect of it, but I was conflicted about the nature of the ice bucket challenge for many of the reasons you list. Just want to clarify that ALSA, while certainly taking advantage of the opportunity, did not instigate this. Because I have seen so much benefit from it, financially but especially as far as awareness goes, so I’ve come around. I have no problems, though, with people donating elsewhere or choosing not to donate.

    I’m interested in your idea that donating should be a commitment. While that certainly is a good thing, I don’t see it as a necessity at all, and in many cases, needs are a one-time thing.

    • The challenge was started by an independent group of people from my understanding. I have seen links to other ALS research organizations that do not participate in embryonic stem cell research, which is thrilling. I would disagree that needs are a one-time thing. Until cures are found, there will always be a need for people to give. There will always be neighbors in need of our care. We can donate to one organization one time, but we would all be better if we each, everyone one of us, chose a battle and stuck with it. In a perfect world that would mean that organizations could depend on their givers and patients and families could depend on care that would be predictable, laid out for them, and maintained on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

your comments are better than eating chocolate in a hammock on a 70 degree day...almost

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