Kennedy's widow Ethel challenges Obama:
Ice Bucket Challenge storms the world
Sri Lankan version of the new world trend - The Ice Bucket Challenge,
came to light after Western Provincial Councillor Malsha Kumaratunga,
fashion icon Otara Gunewardene and popular vocalist Iraj Weeraratne took
|George W. Bush
gets a bucketful.
enjoying the thrill.
feels the cold
in all smiles
The Ice Bucket Challenge, also known as ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is
an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice cold water on one's head
or donating to ALS research. The online world was hit with the Ice
Bucket Challenge (IBC) this month, a playful competition that encouraged
netizens to douse themselves with buckets of ice water, and challenge
others to do the same.
It may seem like a goofy social media gimmick, but it's hard to deny
that the ice bucket challenge has turned out to be a highly effective
fundraising force and the money's still rolling in. The viral fundraiser
in which people, including a growing list of celebrities and
politicians, dump buckets of frigid water over their heads in the name
of ALS awareness - has raised USD 15.7 million for the ALS Association
in the US in a little under three weeks, up from just USD 1.9 million
during the same time period last year.
Origin of IBC
It originated as a method of raising awareness and donations for the
ALS Association (ALSA) - a non-profit organisation that provides
services to persons with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known
as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and helps to fund research into the disease. As
of mid-this month, the ALSA was reporting it had surpassed USD 10
million in 'Ice Bucket' donations.
The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a
bucket full of ice water poured on their heads. A common stipulation is
that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a
charitable financial donation USD 10 or USD 100.
The origins of the idea of dumping cold water on one's head to raise
money for charity are unclear and have been attributed to multiple
From mid 2013 to early 2014, a challenge of unknown origin often
called the 'Cold Water Challenge' became popular on social media in
areas of the Northern United States. The task usually involved the
option of either donating money to cancer research or having to jump
into cold water.
The challenge first received increased media attention in the United
States on June 30, 2014, when personalities of the program 'Morning
Drive', which airs weekdays on Golf Channel, televised the social-media
phenomenon, and performed a live, on-air Ice Bucket Challenge.
The challenge was brought to mainstream audiences soon after when
television anchor Matt Lauer did the IBC on July 15, 2014 on NBC's The
Today Show at Greg Norman's request.
Golfer Chris Kennedy did the challenge and then challenged his cousin
Jeanette Senerchia of Pelham, New York on the same day. Senerchia's
husband, Anthony, has had ALS for 11 years.
US President Barack Obama, was challenged by Ethel Kennedy, the widow
of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, but declined, opting to contribute to the
campaign with a donation of USD 100. World renowned singer Justin Bieber,
along with LeBron James and "Weird" Al Yankovic also challenged
President Obama after completing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Former
president George W. Bush completed the challenge and nominated Bill
Within 24 hours of being challenged, participants are to video record
themselves in continuous footage. First, they are to announce their
acceptance of the challenge followed by pouring ice into a bucket of
water. The bucket is then to be lifted overhead and poured over the
participant's head. Then the participant can call out a challenge to
other people. Whether people choose to donate, perform the challenge, or
do both varies. In one version of the challenge, the participant is
expected to donate USD 10 if they have poured the ice water over their
head or donate USD 100 if they have not.
In another version, dumping the ice water over the participant's head
is done in lieu of any donation, which has led to some criticisms of the
challenge being a form of slacktivism. Many individual videos include
the participant saying that they will be making a donation as well as
performing the challenge.
The IBC went viral on social media and became a pop culture
phenomenon, particularly in the United States, with numerous
celebrities, politicians, athletes, and everyday Americans posting
videos of themselves online and on TV participating in the event during
the last couple of weeks.
People shared more than 1.5 million videos on Facebook between June 1
and August 20 and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2.4 million times
on Twitter since July 29. Mashable called the phenomenon "the Harlem
Shake of the summer".
Pamela Anderson's refusal
More than 739,000 new donors have given money to the association,
which is more than double the USD 19.4 million in total contributions
the association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013.
Similarly, the ALS Therapy Development Institute reported a ten-fold
increase in donations relative to the same period in 2014, with over
2,000 donations made in a single day on August 20, while Project ALS
reported a 50-fold increase.
In the United Kingdom, people have also been doing the challenge for
the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern
Ireland focused on MND care, research and campaigning. MND Scotland
provides care and support to everyone affected by Motor Neurone Disease
A number of criticisms arose relating to the campaign, accusing it of
being self-congratulatory, focusing primarily on fun rather than
donating money to charity, and as an example of substituting a trivial
activity for more genuine involvement in charitable activities.
“Good Morning Britain”
presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shepherd everready.
William MacAskill suggested that the challenge encouraged moral
licensing, meaning that some people might use taking part in the
challenge as a substitute for other charitable acts. He also proposed
that by attracting donations for ALS, the challenge was 'cannibalizing'
potential donations that otherwise would have gone to other charities
Steve-O questioned the campaign, suggesting that celebrities' videos
generally forgot to share donation information for ALS charities, and
that the initial $15 million dollars in funds was insignificant, given
the star power of the celebrities participating. He noted that, of the
videos he viewed, only Charlie Sheen and Bill Gates noted that the point
is to donate money.
Pamela Anderson refused to take part in the challenge because the use
of animal experimentation in ALS research. Members of the pro-life
movement criticised the campaign because of the connection between
embryonic stem cell research and ALS research.
Otara's example with sea water
The worldwide criticism also targeted the waste of water. But Sri
Lankan entrepreneur, philanthropist, designer and fashion icon Otara
Gunewardene gave a solution to that when she took the local Ice Bucket
Challenge to raise funds for PAW charity, using sea water. She has
challenged veteran Sri Lanka cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar
Western Provincial Council member, Malsha Kumaratunga, daughter of
Minister of Posts and popular actor Jeewan Kumaratunga, too faced the
IBC challenge thrown upon by popular singer Iraj Weeraratne. She
proposed fellow WPC member Hirunika Premachandra and Minister Mervyn
Silva among her challengers.
Accordingly, Hirunika had a bath of bucket full of ice water and
named three politicians from different parties as her challengers - her
close friends former parliamentarian Harin Fernando (UNP's chief
ministerial candidate for next month's Uva Provincial Council election),
fellow Western PC member Senal Welgama (son of Minister Kumara Welgama)
and former JVP parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha.
Malsha who had uploaded a video to her Facebook fan page getting
drenched from three buckets of water thrown at her had asked the others
also to do so and upload the video while making a contribution to a
charity fund. "I was challenged by Iraj Weeraratne, who is also my
friend. Hence I took up the challenge," she was quoted as saying after
the bath. The rules of the challenge permits the person who takes up the
challenge to nominate three people. "I nominated President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, Minister Mervyn Silva and my colleague Hirunika as I know
they would take up the challenge. Even if they do not they would still
join for a good cause," she said, adding that her motive was to raise
funds for ARANYANI, an animal welfare trust.
The original ice bucket challenge was to raise funds for amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Since the ALS is not operational here, Malsha has decided to raise funds
for ARYANI, which looks after street pooch.
"There is no point in raising funds for ALS as that is not a disease
in Sri Lanka. Therefore I decided to use the challenge for a cause which
our country would benefit," she said. Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise, Bill Gates,
George W. Bush, and Mark Zuckerberg are some of the personalities who
took up the Ice Bucket challenge. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
may become the first political leader to take up the challenge after he
was nominated by his Parliamentary Secretary and member for Kooyong Josh
Frydenberg, who completed the task on Wednesday. Good Morning Britain
presenters Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard have jumped on the bandwagon,
performing the charity ALS ice bucket challenge live on air on Monday
morning. Tennis star Novak Djokovic too had taken part in the IBC.
In Bollywood, Riteish Deshmukh led the way among BTown biggies and
nominated Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Abhishek Bachchan among
others to take the challenge.