O.J. Brigance Takes The Ice Bucket Challenge (VIDEO)
Screen shot of the Brigance Brigade YouTube page
Like any internet meme, even one that is unequivocally benevolent and productive, we knew that eventually the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has undoubtedly helped to raise awareness and funds for ALS, would reach the stage where human nature pushes a significant portion of society to nitpick at and tire of the repetition of the message.
That's the way it goes, I guess.
Even though the Ice Bucket Challenge has been an undeniable success in getting people to donate to a worthy cause (since the challenges began in July, contributions are up over tenfold from the same period last year), people get "sick of it" because the uploaded videos have the nerve to clog their Facebook news feeds. ("How am I supposed to find out which 'Game of Thrones' character I am on this Buzzfeed quiz, if I have to keep wading through these videos that have raised tens of millions of dollars?")
The other common complaint is that people are doing these videos without making an actual financial contribution to ALS research, that there's some degree of narcissism involved with at least a portion of these uploaded efforts.
Ok, to that I say this:
Honestly, who cares about the motivation for people doing the videos if the overall movement has been a rousing success? I'm fairly certain the people who are "video only" contributors aren't making fun of ALS victims, and if they're doing it for "LOOK AT ME" reasons, at least their conceit is being deployed for a positive cause.
Just let it be, people.
Fundraising of any type requires marketing and an awareness build. That's what the Ice Bucket Challenge is. I lost my mother to breast cancer when she was the age I am today. I think it's awesome that the NFL players wear the pink wristbands and cleats in October. I don't ask for a tabulation of which players are cutting a check to Susan B. Komen and which ones aren't.
I guess my soap box salvo here is that people suck sometimes. Truly, if you're finding a reason to negatively dissect a movement that's raised millions to battle a deadly disease, a movement with which people have simultaneously had some fun, or if you're getting your bitch on because five straight entries on your news feed were Challenge videos (that you can easily skim over), I don't know what to say to you.
And if you think that those suffering from ALS see the Ice Bucket Challenge in any way negatively (and I'm not saying some don't, I can't speak for ALS sufferers, obviously), I would encourage you to watch the video of former Baltimore Raven and Rice Owl, O.J. Brigance, taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Brigance is one of the most high profile victims of ALS. Last week, the Rice Owl football team and Brigance's family took the challenge at Rice Stadium in a heart warming display:
Then, late last week, Brigance himself took the challenge alongside his wife Chanda:
Brigance, a member of the 2000 Super Bowl champion Ravens, was diagnosed with ALS in 2007 and has created a charitable foundation called the Brigance Brigade which has raised over a million dollars to help empower and support ALS victims and their families.
Before taking the challenge, Brigance had a message for the NFL and Roger Goodell:
Before dumping water on their heads, the couple nominated NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, recent Hall of Fame inductee Aeneas Williams, NFL executive Troy Vincent, Baltimore actor Josh Charles, Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps and actor Tyler Perry to take the challenge.
But the couple said what's more important to them is the challenge they're issuing to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: to establish an annual ALS Awareness Day during the season to honor those who are battling the debilitating disease every day.
So let's continue to be as uncourteous as possible to your annoyed friends' news feeds. Keep making the videos, people. Keep raising those funds.
Because honestly, who really cares which Game of Thrones character they would be anyway?
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