If you've been on the Internet in the past week or so, you've probably seen — if not participated in — the ice bucket challenge to promote awareness for ALS. But, just how helpful are you being by pouring cold water over yourself? As it turns out, pretty darn helpful.
Stephanie Dufner of The ALS Association says the disease has "never before experienced this level of visibility across the nation," adding that the organization is beyond grateful for the thousands of people who have done the challenge. From July 29 to August 13, the national office of The ALS Association has received $3.6 million compared with $28,000 in donations during the same time period last year, according to Dufner. To give you some context, last year at this time the organization received $1.2 million. So, theoretically, the viral campaign has more than doubled what the association typically receives.
But, now that so many people have done the ice water stunt, will the activism fizzle? Dufner has some ideas on how ALS awareness can outlive the normal shelf life of an Internet trend. She suggests keeping updated with other fundraisers happening year-round — not just on your computer. "People can also spread awareness about ALS by visiting our website and sharing the facts about this disease with their friends and colleagues," says Dufner.
Of course, supporters can also participate in the Walk to Defeat ALS®. In the meantime, if you've done the ice bucket challenge — and donated — give yourself a nice pat on the back. Or, just watch Ansel Elgort's funny version of the viral video as a reward. It's basically like watching Augustus Waters do it.