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The Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge which has been sweeping the web – you may have seen videos of some of your friends or even your favourite celebrities stepping up to the plate and pouring a bucket filled with ice or ice water over their heads.

But what exactly is it all about? Within 24 hours of being nominated, a person must either donate $100 (£60) to charity or record a continuous-footage video of themselves. In the video, the nominee must first announce that they have accepted the challenge, then pour some ice into a bucket. They can then either have someone throw the bucket over them or lift it over their head and empty it over themselves. They then have the luxury of nominating up to three people to take part.

But this is where the rules start to vary. Some state that after a person has fulfilled the challenge, they should donate $10 (£6) anyway, and if they don’t, they should make the donation of $100. But other rules suggest that partaking in an ice shower means the person doesn’t have to donate anything – they don’t have to pay a forfeit.

The challenge became popular in the US in July, with the aim of raising money for a motor neurone disease known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Some people participating in the challenge are even choosing to donate to other charities.

UK charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, for example, gives directions on how to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge on their website. Those rules state that if you are nominated, you have 48 hours to film yourself having ice poured over you and donate £3 to the charity via text message, and if you “wimp out”, you can donate £10 in the same way.

The craze has become a global sensation, with politicians, athletes and celebrities taking part. Some of the big names who have been nominated and uploaded a video of their participation are Ben Affleck, Eliza Dushku, Lady Gaga, Nathan Fillion, Rita Ora and Tom Hiddleston, to name but a few (all of whom you can see in the cover picture and you can watch their videos by clicking on their name). Even Bill Gates has had a go (in his own way). US President Barack Obama has been nominated a few times but decided to forgo the cold experience in favour of donating instead.

Of course, there are worries that the challenge is suggesting that pouring ice over your head is more favourable than donating to charity. Despite this, the ALS Association reported on Monday that from 29 July to 18 August last year the charity received $1.8 million (£1 million), but for the same period this year – thanks to the publicity from the Ice Bucket Challenge – they were in receipt of a staggering $15.6 million (£9.3 million).

ALS Association President and CEO, Barbara J Newhouse, said that the money is going to go towards helping more and more people with the disease, as well as their families and caregivers, and being invested in further research.

“Never before have we been in a better position to fuel our fight against the disease,” she declared. “Increased awareness and unprecedented financial support will enable us to think outside the box.”


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