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Pioneer Editorial: Dousing for a great cause

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Have you gotten wet yet?

If you haven’t, you soon may find yourself in the minority.

Of course, we are talking about the ALS Ice Bucket challenge sweeping, or deluging if you prefer, the country via social media.

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The ice bucket challenge is fairly self explanatory: people dump buckets of ice/ice water over their heads in lieu of or in addition to donating to the ALS Association.

The dumpee then normally nominates someone else or a group to take the challenge and so on and so on. . . Depending on what you’ve read, the normal donation is $10 and if people don’t take the challenge within 24 hours, they are supposed to donate $100 to ALS research.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” and is a neuro-degenerative disease that impacts the body’s nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

According to the ALS Association, an average of 5,600 new ALS cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year with about 30,000 people living with the disease at any given time.

There have been some detractors to the challenge; some wondering if the ice bucket dousings, which are almost all posted to social media sites such as Facebook, are more of an appeal to people’s vanity and not done in the true spirit of giving.

How long will the attention last as we quickly move on to the next fad?

But what can’t be ignored is the challenge’s impact on donations.

The ALS Association announced that as of Monday, the organization has received $79.7 million in donations compared to $2.5 million for the same time period (July 29-Aug. 25) in 2013.

Take that in for a second: $2.5 million to $79.7 million, an increase of $77.2 million dollars.

Other nonprofits are sure to take notice of those numbers. Expect more ice bucket-type challenges to become the norm in fundraising.

But that’s OK. Sure, there does seem to be a little too much “hey, look at me” involved with the challenge, but anything that can generate this much attention — and research dollars — to a worthy cause is something to get behind.

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