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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Bucket half full or half empty?

Do you know what Lou Gehrig’s disease is? Neither did most people until recently, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been changing that.

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It targets nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord, eventually ceasing muscle control and movement.  

In the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, those who accept gallantly dump a bucket full of ice and water on their heads within 24 hours of being challenged; however, all are encouraged to donate to the ALS Foundation. The drenched participant then nominates others, keeping the movement alive.

Due to California’s intense drought, there has been a backlash in response to the Ice Bucket Challenge. It takes about a gallon of water for each challenge. Now, picture the millions of challenges uploaded so far. Now, picture how much water California is losing day by day.

It seems the residents of the Golden State have banded together to waste California’s scarcest resource: water. California, currently in the midst of its worst drought in generations, is now victim to gallons and gallons of water dumped on the daily due to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Despite our dire need for water, though, there’s a much more hopeful side to the Ice Bucket Challenge. As of Aug. 26, the ALS Foundation has raised $88.5 million. With each passing week, donations are rising by the millions.

And here’s why this is so important: Funding for ALS is scarce.

More than 5,600 people are diagnosed per year, and an average of 15 people per day. Currently, there are 30,000 Americans who struggle with ALS.

In other words, ALS is responsible for two deaths per 100,000 annually. And within two to five years of being diagnosed, the average ALS victim will die. Half will live at least three more years, about 20 percent live five years or more and up to 10 percent will survive for more than 10 years.

Although ALS is deadly, the the billions it would take to find a cure is a considerably bad investment for pharmaceutical companies. Those companies don’t take into account human life; they take into account how much money they can make.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is not so much of a waste of water, but rather a misuse.

The solution? A compromise. Don’t waste the water. Reuse bath water or do the challenge on the grass. And whether you choose to dump ice water on your head or not, donate to the ALS Foundation.

The trend is really just an awareness campaign. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the money that is being donated to an important cause. So why don’t we all join hands and choose to advocate through either awareness or donations? Either way, we’re all working toward a cure for ALS victims. 

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