Ice Bucket Challenge: Activism or Slacktivism?

Florida chapter of ALS asking for direct donations

By Allison McGinley - News Director

Have you accepted the ice water challenge? The latest viral craze has probably filled your newsfeed faster than you can fill a bucket with ice water.

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There's no denying all the good it has done, but has it truly turned people into heartfelt activists?

The recent challenge has raised millions of dollars for a disease that has wallowed in relative obscurity since baseball great Lou Gehrig brought it to light in 1939.

While it is dubbed "The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" the most important part about it often falls off the social media bandwagon lost in the novelty of posting another self-involved video.

In fact, the original rules stated: donate $100 to ALS or dump a bucket of ice water on your head, but the rules have been tweaked in some cases to include both.

Either way the challenge continues when you call out your friends.

Skeptics criticize the "Ice Bucket Challenge" as yet another example of "slacktivism" where people post, like and hash tag for a social cause without making much of an impact.

At the National Kidney Foundation in Orlando, they've stepped up to the ice bucket challenge always willing to help out a fellow non-profit.

Shannon Rosser says the Kidney Foundation relies on walks and their annual Surf Festival in Cocoa Beach to raise money, but you can't put a price on what the ice bucket challenge has raised for ALS awareness.

"There are so many different causes and people are always trying to raise money to help and so many people need help. This country is sick and if you can get your name out there that's a huge benefit," said Rosser.

Since July 29, 1.2 million people have shared videos on Facebook, 2.2 million people have tweeted and hash tagged Ice Bucket Challenge.

And the national ALS Foundation has raised nearly $16-million, compared to just $1.7 million by this time last year.

Marixa Salgado, with the Florida Chapter of ALS says that money will go toward research for a cure, but encourages people to also donate to their local ALS chapters.

"If you want to earmark for your local chapter, it will help your state directly," said Salgado.

But once the temperatures cool down and the novelty of challenge wears off the next challenge is keeping this attention from going the way of Joseph Kony, planking or the Harlem shake.

"Our funds development staff is doing a lot of meetings trying to figure out how it is they'll be able to build on this. I hope it doesn't fade out. We have a walk every year maybe we'll have the ice bucket challenge every year in the summer,"

There are about 1,500 people in Florida battling ALS.  The local chapter helps them buy medical supplies, pay for bills and caregiver services.

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