Nathan Sharp

Contributing Writer

 

If you are in any way connected to the outside world, you are familiar with what has affectionately been titled “the ice bucket challenge.” 

At this point, you have probably seen so many videos uploaded to Facebook that you have managed to come to a conclusion about this up-and-coming fad.  Are we saving the world one three-dollar bag of ice at a time? Or are we actually concerned about the cause behind the commotion?

I’ve always believed the world is overrun with groovy movements and fancy campaigns. In a world whose values rarely line up with her actions, it is far too easy to be swept into something for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps you have taken the challenge, perhaps you have simply donated, or maybe you have no idea what in the world I am talking about.

No matter in which of the above categories you find yourself, I hope throughout all of this revelry you will at least take the time to search out just exactly what ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is, who it affects, and why both awareness and action are desperately needed.

According to the ALS Association, 15 Americans die each day due to a battle with this appalling disease. And with many cases often undiagnosed, it is estimated that ALS lays claim to an even greater number than that. 

Fifteen may seem like an insignificant figure in relation to the many other disastrous problems that plague our nation, but for those who stand in the wake of ALS, the numbers are far too high.  Especially when we know so little about this malady that we cannot even explain why it happens, let alone stop it. 

When a cause catches our eye, it is often far too convenient to join in without fully understanding what it is we are actually doing. It is my hope that those of you who have found yourselves being drenched in icy water have wholly accepted the duties that come along with joining any cause.

Scouting out the movement is just as important as joining in the “fun.” For example, did you know that many ALS research organizations experiment using embryonic stem cells? It may just be possible that this does not line up with your everyday moral code. But don’t let this hinder your giving; I assure you that there are plenty of ways to donate that will not interfere with your convictions.

I am not here to tell you where to give your money, but I am hoping that this new wave of social justice will not only open our eyes to new issues, but will also remind us that every action deserves at least a little forethought. 

As we continue to be a part of this never before seen flood of media-born charity, let us broaden our horizons beyond the cause of ALS and rather to the overall cause of Christ. Do not be like me and only realize the importance of being part of something until it is too late. 

Despite the many problems we all face daily, it is never out of our reach to help someone who carries a different burden. We may at times be overrun with catchy slogans and viral stunts, but behind most causes is a real and desperate need. Take this opportunity to not only dig deep, but to scout out the calling in your heart and run towards the goal that has been set before us all. 

I would like to dedicate this article to my dad, who lost his battle with ALS on June 14, 2014. To those who have taken the challenge, thank you.