By now, everyone who owns a computer or mobile phone has seen an Ice-Bucket Challenge video on the internet, but where exactly did this bizarre trend come from?
It’s good to look at these things, because like the recent Neknomination trend, some of these internet sensations can end up doing a lot more bad than good, but that said, seeing big-name celebrities getting involved and making some serious donations during their Ice-Bucket Challenge videos, there has to be something different about this particular activity.
The challenge originated in the aim to help raise awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) by a young man, but has since attracted the attention of likes of Bill Gates, Oprah, and Mark Zuckerberg, along with around $15.6 million in donations to the ALS Association.
Chris Kennedy, a golfer in Sarasota, Fla., was nominated by a friend to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, which at the time, had nothing to do with ALS. The campaign was not tied to any specific charity, and participants would select a charity of their choice for donations. Kennedy’s friend had selected a charity that benefits a young child with cancer in the area. Kennedy, passing the challenge along, then selected ALS because a relative (his wife’s cousin, Anthony) is suffering from the disease.
The challenge then spread like wildfire throughout the town, grabbing the attention of Pete Frates, a professional baseball player and sufferer of the disease himself, which he helped get some serious exposure.
The ALS Association even noted an unexplained uptick in donations between July and August.
“What started out as a small gesture to put a smile on Anthony’s face and bring some awareness to this terrible disease has turned into a national phenomenon and it is something we never could have dreamed of,” Kennedy said.