Health, News

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle takes the ALS ice bucket challenge in August, 2014. Photo: David Cooper, The Toronto Star.
Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle takes the ALS ice bucket challenge in August, 2014. Photo: David Cooper, Toronto Star.

Lots of people have been dumping buckets of ice cold water over their heads. It may sound a little strange, but it’s for a good cause.

It’s all part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and it has taken the Internet by storm.

ALS is a disease called “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” that affects nerve cells in the brain. It became more well known in 1939 when baseball player Lou Gehrig got the disease; it is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Lots of people are working to find a cure for ALS.

In order to bring attention to the disease and also to raise money for research and help people with ALS, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started.

People post a video of themselves getting ice water dumped on them. Then, they donate some money to the ALS Association and they challenge one or more of their friends to do the same thing. And on it goes.

Many people have posted photos or videos of themselves taking the Ice Bucket Challenge, on Facebook and Twitter. More than $107 million in Ice Bucket Challenge donations have been given to the ALS Association by individuals and companies.

Donations range from less than a dollar to more than $200,000.

Many celebrities have donated and taken the challenge, including actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, musicians Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake, famous athletes and politicians. Of course, thousands of people who are not famous have also taken the plunge and donated.

Last year at this time, the ALS Association received about $2.8 million in donations, compared with more than $100 million after the Ice Bucket Challenge became popular.

“The word gratitude doesn’t do enough to express what we are feeling right now,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of the ALS Association in a press release on its website. The money will go towards research to help find a cure and to support people living with the disease.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The article explains that the Ice Bucket Challenge has contributed to a tremendous increase in donations to the ALS Association. It explains, “Last year at this time, the ALS Association received about $2.8 million in donations, compared with more than $100 million after the Ice Bucket Challenge became popular.”

Why do you think there is such a large difference between the amount of money donated last year versus this year? Why do you think the Ice Bucket Challenge has become so popular?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
The origins of the Ice Bucket Challenge are unclear, but it is undeniable that it has been a very successful  campaign. The campaign has raised millions of dollars and it has increased people’s awareness of this disease.

Think of a cause or charity that is important to you. What could you do to raise money? How could you get your family and friends involved?

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Language Feature: Acronym
An acronym is created when the first letter of a series of words are put together to make a short form. For example, the acronym “ALS” is the short form of “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”.

Why do you think people use acronyms? Can you think of 5 acronyms that you use in your daily conversations?