Robbin Carollo |

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August 27, 2014
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Why I stayed dry for the ALS challenge | Moms

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the #ALSIceBucketChallenge sweeping the Internet.

Basically it is an opportunity to raise awareness for ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

The challenge brings awareness to this disease by having a challenger video herself getting a bucket of water dumped on her head, after which she challenges others to do the same.

To fulfill the spirit of the challenge, you’re supposed to get soaked and donate $10 or refuse to get wet and donate $100 to ALS research.

Why the origin of this particular challenge is a bit hazy (some say it was minor-league golfer Chris Kennedy that started the trend, others like ALS Canada credit Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player with ALS for starting the internet crazy) it is safe to say that it is now an internet-wide phenomenon.

Everyone from Oprah Winfrey to many of the Douglas County Mom bloggers have gotten water dumped on their heads in the name of ALS awareness.

So it was with little shock and not so little chagrin that I was nominated by to take the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.

Now look, it wasn’t until about a week or two ago that I had even heard of this challenge and for every video of someone I knew getting water tossed on their head, I had another friend posting pictures of African kids drinking water out of teaspoons.

I get it. Here are dumb, exhibitionist Americans wasting gallons of water while there are dehydrated kids in Africa.

As a mom, I was more inclined to side with my friends who thought the whole water dumping thing was shameful.

I let my challenger know that, “OK, I’ll do it because you called me out, but I’m going to mention donating to water charities too!”

So, feeling particularly benevolent after the fact, I set about the task of formulating my slightly reproachful blog for this week.

While I was formulating what I would say to bring awareness to the masses of their well-intentioned if not misguided efforts to bring awareness to ALS, I watered my lawn.

And rewashed the clothes I had left in the washing machine too long.

And ran my half-empty dishwasher. And watered my flowers. And turned on the slip and slide for my kids.

Basically wasted countless gallons of water. For totally selfish reasons.

I still didn’t really get that my attitude was a little holier-than-thou until I saw this ALS ice bucket challenge:

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Anthony Carbajal

Seriously, if you haven’t watch this, you need to check it out.

It dawned on me that while dumping water on your head, looking silly online, challenging others and basically actin’ a fool maybe wasn’t the most decorous way to raise awareness of such a serious disease, there is no arguing that it has been hugely effective.

In the time that the challenge has blown up on the Internet, there has been over $30 million raised for ALS awareness, as opposed to the mere $1.7 that was raised during the same time last year.

So if you are like I was and are one of the people shaking your head at the water-wasting antics of thousands online, I’d urge you to rethink.

Or if you’re still not willing to donate to ALS, find a charity that brings portable water to those without.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this insane challenge, it is that I can’t just sit on my butt and do nothing.

Since my change of heart I have been looking for opportunities to have my own head splashed in water, but with my brood of young children, I lack both the time and the required cameraman to film my own challenge.

So instead I have donated to two organizations: The Mayo Clinic with the specification that my donation be used for ALS research, and Living Water International, which is a Christian organization that works with churches in developing countries to bring sustainable water, sanitation, hygiene and Christian witness to their local communities.

I was going to shoot a video of me with my checkbook open, but Patrick Stewart beat me to it.

I can’t pull off that much cool.

If you do choose to donate, I urge you to get educated on where you’re putting your money. For me, a lot of the more popular ALS charities use medical practices that conflict with my Christian faith, so I’ve had to find organizations that use research I can support.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this insane challenge, it is that I can’t just sit on my butt and do nothing.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 15, 2014 09:36AM Published Sep 15, 2014 09:42AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.