This weekend, our very own Chancellor Dirks dumped a bucket of ice on his head in response to a nomination by MIT president L. Rafael Reif to help raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Chancellor Dirks assured everyone the whole affair would be done in an eco-friendly way — the water would be recycled for gardening purposes. Check out the whole fabulous video below, complete with Chancellor Dirks’s awesome hair:
Over the past few weeks, ice bucket challenge videos have gone viral, taking over social media platforms. While there have been many criticisms — such as that the challenge is not environmentally friendly and that it only creates superficial awareness of ALS — it can’t be denied that there has been an overwhelming response. From CEOs to celebrities to ordinary people, everyone wants to help. In just a few weeks, the ALS foundation raised $53 million. Even so, the videos keep coming. Viral phenomena such as the ice bucket challenge usually die out in a few weeks, but the videos haven’t stopped yet, and the amount of money donated is only increasing.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the spine and brain. It’s also sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the baseball player whose death brought the disease to national attention. The most common of motor neuron diseases, ALS starts with muscle atrophy, leading to difficulty in speaking, swallowing and breathing. The median survival time from onset is about 39 months. While there is currently an FDA-approved drug that slows the disease’s progression, there is no known cure.
So, how can you help?
First and foremost, raise awareness. Being aware that diseases such as ALS exist and are affecting the lives of people around you is an important step in the right direction. However, once you are aware of the effects of the disease and the research that is being conducted on it, don’t just throw money in one direction. Rather than donating $100 to the cause then forgetting about it in a few months, consider setting aside a certain amount of money you want to donate every year. While the ALS foundation certainly fights a noble battle, there are thousands of other charitable foundations out there that are also working to make an impact. For example, fields such as water sanitation, human rights, education and vaccination are always in need of support.
The ice bucket challenge has done amazing things, prompting people to donate to a charity money that they otherwise may have used to buy a new outfit. So, take advantage of this momentum and continue to promote worthwhile causes!
Lastly, enjoy this screenshot of Chancellor Dirks rocking the post-ice bucket challenge hairdo.