Why I took up the challenge

Well, to be completely honest, I had been rolling my eyes at the ice bucket trend until I was personally challenged by Javvad. When Englishmen throw down a gauntlet, you can’t ignore it. I mean, I’m pretty sure they invented gauntlet throwdowns.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZs1imeNAGA&feature=youtu.be

ALS? What?

Yeah, well — good point. I didn’t know what it was. Being a research junkie, I naturally took to the Internet and dove in.

Ah! It’s also called Lou Gehrig’s disease! I’ve heard of that! Yeah, nope — still don’t know what it is. Deeper we go.

For better or worse, I come from a school of thought where I like to know what I’m jumping into (or in this case getting dumped on me). I love a fun challenge between friends, but if I do something “for a good cause”, I feel like I damn well better be able to explain what the cause is, and why I’m passionate about it.

So, ALS is easily one of the most horrifying neurological disorders I’ve ever heard of. Put briefly, you are slowly paralyzed over the course of years as motor neurons degenerate and muscle atrophies, until eventually, you suffocate. Yeah, I’ll give some money towards stamping that out.

I haven’t seen anyone mention this connection, but I really feel like ice water is appropriate to build awareness of this disease. When that ice water hits your spine, you are momentarily paralyzed. For that moment, perhaps you have some appreciation of what it might be like to deal with the disease? I’m thinking it probably doesn’t come even close, but ice water may be as close as we can get.

Charity

I agree with Javvad — giving to charity is typically something I consider to be a very personal affair. I think if you’re bragging about it, you’re missing the point. However, if you’re trying to raise awareness, I think the challenge is brilliant. First, they’re right — few people I knew were aware of the disease, and I took this opportunity to share (and will continue sharing) what I had learned with my kids, friends and family.

I feel very passionate about charity. Some of my most cherished memories and defining moments were related to charity-giving, but I’ve also felt betrayed by it. I personally put charity on three levels:

  1. If you can do it yourself, in person, do it. Help someone. Build something. They’re thankful and you’ll feel amazing. It is a win-win scenario. Most importantly, you KNOW where your money/sweat went.
  2. Donate to a trusted charity. This can be tough, but there are resources out there that can help. I’m not going into the time I was burned, because I don’t want to distract from the purpose of this post. Suffice to say, there are some ‘charities’ with some serious accountability issues. I looked up The ALS Association, which is whom I donated to, and they’re looking pretty good.
  3. These are the ‘high-pressure, no knowledge’ campaigns. Your employer has started their <insert giant corporate ‘charity’ here> campaign, or your grocery store/pet store asks you if you want to donate a dollar at checkout. You don’t have a chance to look into the validity or integrity of the organization before you have to give an answer. I don’t care how I look. I say no. If pressed, I say that I research the charities I give to, and give on my own terms, not when pressed to.

Passing it on

Am I going to call anyone out? Nah. However, I will say that if anyone donates to ALS and attributes this blog post as the reason, I’ll put together a blog post outside 451's paywall explaining cloud security.

That’s right! The secrets to cloud security, buzzwords explained and all that nonsense cleared up. All you have to do is give to this one weird charity…

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