I regularly encourage everyone to donate to their favorite charity. I think it is the responsibility of all people to help their fellow man whenever possible. Most people reading this site live in the United States of America. As a citizen of the USA, you are very likely to be immensely more wealthy than the average person in the world. If you are reading this post, you owe it to others to help them and you owe it yourself to give part of yourself to others – you will reap the rewards.
You may remember the ALS ice bucket challenge of a few years ago. If you participated, you helped to eventually cure this disease. Congratulations! You made a difference in the real world.
Here is my video (hosted on Facebook) of my check as well as my dosing of ice water.
Here is a video on WSJ discussing this amazing breakthrough.
And here is an article describing the amazing successes that were caused by the citizens of the world doing a little bit more to help their fellow man.
It is often easy to dismiss viral charity campaigns as “slacktivism”, which lacks in real-world impact (we never did catch the warlord Joseph Kony, after all) but a breakthrough discovery bankrolled by 2014’s ALS ice bucket challenge may give the lie to that cynicism.
The ice bucket challenge was a phenomenon in the summer of 2014 in which people dunked a bucket of iced water over their heads in order to solicit donations before nominating others to do the same.
Slate wrote that “for most of the people posting ice bucket videos of themselves on Facebook, Vine, and Instagram, the charity part remains a postscript”, while Time called it “problematic in almost every way”, going on to say that “most of its participants … didn’t mention the disease at all. The chance to jump on the latest trend was an end in itself. In fact, the challenge’s structure seems almost inherently offensive to those touched by ALS.”
But the proof of the pudding was in the eating: the campaign raised more than $100m in a 30-day period, and was able to fully fund a number of research projects.
One of these was Project MinE, a large data-driven initiative funded by the ALS Association through ice bucket challenge donations, as well as donations from the organization’s Georgia and New York chapters. The project’s researchers announced on Monday that they have identified a new gene associated with the disease, which experts say could lead to new treatment possibilities.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurological disorder in which the motor neurons that control muscle function slowly die. The disease can be either sporadic or inherited, and in either case there is currently no cure.
“It’s very exciting because it shows everyone who contributed to the ice bucket challenge that their donation had an impact on the research,” said Brian Frederick, executive vice-president of communications and development at the ALS Association. “The work that Project MinE is doing is really important, and the discovery of this new gene will help us better understand ALS.”