Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

Unless you've been offline for the past couple of weeks you can't have failed to notice the proliferation of videos of people having buckets of ice water poured over them in order to raise money and awareness of ALS, or in the UK, MND - Motor Neurone Disease.

The idea is you succumb to the ordeal, nominate 3 other people and donate a bit of money to the cause, or chicken out and donate a larger sum of money. Film stars, politicians and all manner of celebrities have taken part, along with considerably more people who are not famous, and whose videos will only be watched by their immediate friends and family.

I've been watching and wondering - what would I do if I was nominated?

Do I want a bucket of icy water poured over my head? Of course not.

Do I want to be seen to be a killjoy, spoilsport and uncharitable? Well, no, not really. And of course that's where the strength of this fundraising meme lies - when so many other people have done it, who wants to be known as the one who said no?

If I'm honest, part of me was irritated by the whole thing. Why should I have to join in with something unpleasant, just to be seen as a good sport? Maybe I should kick against the whole thing - show I was not one to be bullied into it.

What to do? Could I write a blog post decrying a meme for excessive peer pressure? Could I claim my ME/CFS was coming back and excuse myself on health grounds? Could I not answer any emails, not post any blogs and avoid Facebook until it all calmed down? Could I cynically use the fact my daughter has Down's Syndrome and say I was already contributing to a noble cause?

Perhaps I would be lucky. Perhaps no one would ask me if I kept a relatively low profile.

Then my son, Rogan, said he'd been nominated and asked if I would pour the water over him and film it on my camera. Momentarily horrified he might include me in his nominations I casually asked who'd nominated him and who he would be nominating in turn. Fortunately it was all happening among his peer group. I was free to drench him with a 2 gallon bucket of water containing a kilo of ice cubes with no repercussions. There was something deeply satisfying about it...


All those nights he kept waking up and refusing to go back to sleep when he was a baby: finally, payback...

And then it happened.

I logged on to my computer this morning to discover fellow Galloway Photographic Collective member, Tom Langlands, had posted a video being coated with water and in it he nominated me.

In the space of a few minutes I ran through the complete gamut of grief emotions - disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and finally, acceptance.

Now I was faced with it, did I really want to rant about bullying and peer pressure? Or was it actually more fun to join in, to be a part of it?

And I realised, despite all my worries and fears, there had been another wee thread running through the back of my thoughts. What if no one nominated me? Would that mean I just wasn't important enough to anyone?

Some were clearly nominating people they either didn't like much or were getting back at for past grievances. But far more often people were nominating their best friends, colleagues and family. People they had a strong affinity with. People in their tribe.

So now faced with the chance to nominate people myself, I thought about those with whom I can chat for hours without ever seeming to run out of things to say, people whose company I really enjoy.

This wasn't about punishment or revenge.

This was about belonging.

And all for a good cause.


After you've smirked at my expression as he's pouring the water over me, take a look at his - utter glee...

If you'd like to donate to this cause, with or without the bucket of icy water, then text ICED55 £5 (or any other amount) to 70070, if you live in the UK, or you can donate to their JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/mndassoc/

If you live outwith the UK, then a quick google search will reveal how to donate to your own country's association.


6 comments:

Aoife.Troxel said...

Fair play, Kim. Imagine repeating it in December! I have mixed feelings about the ice-bucket challenge myself but it is all in good fun and any charitable action should be encouraged.

Guyana-Gyal said...

How I laughed at this (sorry, but I did): "...disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and finally, acceptance."

This sure has brought about awareness of that illness. I guess, the thing to do, if you don't want to get doused with ice-water, is to decline and donate however much one can afford.

The funniest video was Howard Stern.

I'm off to look at you...


Michelle said...

Brave brave man!

I think I'll go for direct donation without ice. ;-)

Ms Scarlet said...

I would have used warm water and a couple of cubes of plastic.
Sadly, someone has already died doing the ice bucket challenge... and there have been injuries... this is why I advocate cheating and looking after yourself :-)
Sx

MaryWitzl said...

I laughed at the line about disbelief, denial, etc. too. Whenever there's a craze, I find myself feeling mixed emotions over all the people who jump to join it -- and yet I'm torn between thinking it's a silly fad and that my reaction to it is cynical and negative and that anything that makes us more generous and aware of others' misfortunes must be a good thing.

There's another consideration too: it's SO HOT here in China that it wouldn't be much of a challenge.

MaryWitzl said...

I laughed at the line about disbelief, denial, etc. too. Whenever there's a craze, I find myself feeling mixed emotions over all the people who jump to join it -- and yet I'm torn between thinking it's a silly fad and that my reaction to it is cynical and negative and that anything that makes us more generous and aware of others' misfortunes must be a good thing.

There's another consideration too: it's SO HOT here in China that it wouldn't be much of a challenge.