Okay, it’s curmudgeon time. I have been challenged to do the ice bucket stunt, too, but I haven’t exactly made it a priority. Part of it is the hassle of getting a bag of ice here in Singapore. (Sorry, no ice maker in the fridge.) But that’s petty, of course. Frankly, I’m not a get-on-the-bandwagon kind of guy anyway. I’m much more inclined just to quietly give to a worthy cause. Which leads me to this article from Maclean’s and to this graphic. Go read those for ways to define “worthy” and come back.
Look, ALS is clearly a terrible disease. Degenerative diseases always are. I’ve seen the impact of MS in my wife’s family. But thinking perhaps a bit selfishly, I can testify that other diseases also interfere profoundly with daily life.
I’m thinking of food allergies, specifically. While both of my boys had food allergies at some point, my younger son – now nine years old – still has multiple, severe food allergies that can kill him if he eats the wrong thing and doesn’t get immediate medical treatment. Those of you who have seen up close our daily routines and concerns (paranoia, really, but of course, he has a real enemy) know just how all-consuming this condition is in our lives. We’re fortunate in that he has recovered from every incident. Others haven’t been so lucky. If you need to know how heart-breaking it can be, please see this.
Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I should have come up with a creative, viral fund-raising hook. Or maybe I should have spent less time volunteering for other groups and run a FARE Walk for Food Allergy when I lived back in the U.S. Shame on me. Maybe all that’s left to me now is to ask every single person who dumped a bucket of water on his or her head to donate to a food allergy advocacy organization. Personally, we give to Food Allergy Research & Education.
But, of course, is our disease “worthy”? Maybe not – especially if you go by the criteria listed in the articles I’ve linked to. Fair enough. But I guess please keep this in mind: Every person’s life is precious. And as the Mclean’s article says, “We, as individuals and as a society, have finite resources to donate to medical research and other worthy causes.” So please choose carefully and wisely. If you have already done the ice bucket challenge, I don’t want you to feel bad about it. I just want you to take a moment, do some research, look at those around you, and don’t stop giving after you’ve changed your clothes and posted to Facebook. Thanks.