The Ice Bucket Challenge: Behind the cool fundraising fad of the summer

When Peter Frates was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) he was forced to give up his baseball career and live the remainder of his life in a wheelchair while speaking through a computer keyboard. Rather than letting the disease defeat him, Frates instead fought to develop a fundraising tool for the ALS Association that has become a worldwide phenomenon, The Ice Bucket Challenge. The Ice Bucket Challenge entails taking a bucket of ice water and pouring it over your head, simulating, only for seconds, how it feels to not be able to move your whole body. The challenge also asks for people to donate money to the ALS Foundation.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has spread like wildfire across social media outlets and has caught the attention of celebrities and common people alike. Frate's plan to spear head the Ice Bucket Challenge through social media worked better than he had expected. Soon numerous people were participating and challenging their friends to follow their lead through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Many SMC students have participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. SMC student Marcus Osti was inspired by his friend's challenge for him to participate. "I thought it was a very creative and unique way to raise awareness for something that's relatively unknown," he said.

Marcus also posted the video to Facebook and challenged several friends to do the same thing. "It's contagious and it's something other people are going to want to do."

Marcus is right, the Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral over the past month. Many people who were challenged, may or may not have known about ALS disease until they were called out via social media.

SMC student Elena Vucetic said, "I didn't really know much about what it was until I saw the ice bucket challenges online."

The Ice Bucket Challenge is so popular that it has been seen in many different, fun, and creative ways.

"I saw one where the whole football team poured buckets of ice on each other," said Vucetic referring to the New England Patriots' answer to the challenge.

As of September 5, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised 109.1 million dollars, according to the ALS Association website. They also report that there have been donations from more than 3 million people.

Whether it is just for fun, or out of a genuine interest in donating to the ALS cause, the ice bucket challenge seems to have done a lot of good in funding research for a cure. The Ice Bucket Challenge is indeed a trend, and many people have participated because their friends have done it. Only time will tell if it will fade or continue to grow. It may just inspire other organizations to come up with more creative ways to fundraise and spread their cause to the world.