This post might look a little bit off topic, but it’s for a good cause. Just a few years ago I was an assistant press officer at the Italian Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation. FFC is a non-profit organisation focused on supporting scientific research in order to find therapies for patients affected by a genetic disorder for which, to this day, there is no cure.
Back then we were trying to find the best (and possibly most creative) ways to put the disease under the spotlight, to make sure the media talked about it, to make people aware of its existence and to boost fundraising in order to finance therapies for the patients. So I know firsthand how hard it is to achieve a massive outcome such as the viral campaign that is raising the awareness for amyothrofic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
As writer Neil Gaiman stated in his video shot on Santa Monica Beach, where he accepted the nomination, “by now, unless you’re living on the Moon, you’ve heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge.” I won’t write any media analysis here, nor go into the useless debate on whether it’s becoming a celebrities’ pastime. (By the way, you can read here 3 reasons why this campaign is awesome). I’ll go straight to the point instead: if you look at the amount of money raised so far, compared to last year’s, it’s worked damned good.
On a more personal note, last November my girlfriend’s dad, a former sports teacher, was diagnosed with ALS. I am therefore seeing with my own eyes how aggressive and cruel this disease is. So, are you having fun with the Ice Bucket Challenge? That’s great, keep on doing it. But as Foo Fighters remind us in its video, don’t forget why you are doing it and donate after you dry off.
Also, if you want to have a better perspective on the disease from someone whose life is affected by ALS, watch the video below until the end.