The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Let me fill you in on a little scam that’s cruising the interwebs. It’s called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and it’s a fund raising scheme concocted by a handful of us here in South Florida to dupe the rest of you into freezing your noggins off, knowing that when it cycled back around to us, we would be able to bask in our daily ritual of dunking our heads in a bucket of ice, and you all would think we were doing it for charity.

So far, the scheme is working brilliantly. The ALS Bucket Challenge has raised millions of dollars and tons of awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a very nasty neurological degenerative disorder. The challenge goes like this: If you are called out by someone who took the challenge, you have 24 hours to take the challenge yourself and donate a little money to ALS, or you can skip the ice water and donate a lot to ALS. I mixed and matched and went with the ice water and a full donation. The point here is to raise money. And it’s super easy to give. Just go to this link to give over the web. You can use a credit card, Paypal, or your Amazon account. I went with Paypal, and it took five seconds.

It took longer to record and upload the video, which you can see after the break.


26 responses to “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”

  1. Haha… I told my brother in Phoenix that it didn’t count because it was 110 when he did it. He wrote back and said it wasn’t 110… it was 106. ;)

    Nice job, Hugh!

  2. My favorite part of this was who you called out! I would love to see Mark Hamill do this. But I must say that the FanBoy in me is squealing at the fact you referenced two Star Wars actors :) (granted one is from the original awesome ones and one is from the new not so awesome ones).

  3. Look at you getting your swolle on, flashing off the guns!

  4. I love that you did this challenge. We lost a dear family member to ALS a couple years ago. It’s one of the most devastating ways to leave the earth. He was a masterful guitar player and when he lost the use of his fingers and couldn’t play any more, it was horrific. He became a prisoner in his body.

    Happier note: good to see you looking fit – nice guns (I mean this in a respectful non-creepy way).

    And I’m so glad you didn’t dump that ice on sweet, unsuspecting Bella.

    Here’s to raising awareness and money for ALS!

  5. Your dog seems to know what you were saying!!! Also, this is an adorable video. And good on you!!

  6. “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”
    –Rudyard Kipling


  7. Good for you, man. Yeah, here in Canberra it’d be a challenge right now, with temps down in the single digits. And all the t-shirts you wear, who knew such a BEAST lurked underneath? I guess you must type harder than other writers!

  8. I commend Hugh calling out Obama, because that is definitely the right direction to be looking. The people who need to be called out are our representatives in the Federal Government. We spend about 2% of the federal budget on science in general, and somewhere around 1% on the NIH. Diseases like ALS and cancer that are a result of fundamental cellular failure aren’t going to be solved only by a direct effort, but by a strong effort to understand basic cellular mechanisms which will put us in the position to produce an effective treatment. If we value solutions to these problems, we need to make sure our government is aligned to help solve them.

    1. All of this.

      Recent action in Iraq backs up something I’ve been saying for years: We don’t need troops on the ground in order to protect our interests. That’s where we lose wars, in fact. Air and sea support are plenty to protect our shores and to lend aid to our comrades. We could scale back our military by several factors and be just as effective as we are today, with far less loss of life and far less loss of prestige around the world.

      Every penny of those savings should go to infrastructure and research. Imagine what we could do if we spent those billions of dollars every year in these two areas. The effects would compound, and GDP growth would get back to 5%, year on year, rather than the anemic growth we see when we go around blowing shit up.

      1. It is funny that you answered me anyway as I agonized over my silly response to myself below.

      2. There is some limit to our capability to usefully direct research funding. More of the same from the NIH could quickly degenerate into even more of the incompetent researchers having an embarrassment of riches wasted on poorly designed studies that make erroneous conclusions. There are serious problems with the way research funding is distributed. However, big investments in research infrastructure like pushing genetic sequencing into higher volume and better economies of scale would be a worthy cause that would aid research immensely.

        1. I agree with both of you. Wholeheartedly.

          If some of that military budget were spent on research for diseases like ALS, or for taking care of our own people’s hunger, or both, we could do so much more good than anything we might generate from having our troops on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan.

          Just my two cents.

          And now, back to our program.


          1. Should have been “was” instead of “were”…where’s that edit button?


    2. After posting this, it occurred to me that my post is not addressed to you, Hugh. Some small part of that is due to a realization that this is a one to the multitude relationship and it is unreasonable (and uncomfortable) to expect any of your attention. More of it is the understanding that there are other people reading the comments as I do. In retrospect, I’m bothered by what the construction of my comment says about me. To the degree which this was disrespectful of you and your blog, I’m sorry.

      When a friend shared a link to , I lost all sense of restraint on the subject and felt compelled to share on Facebook and here a point of view that is more in line with the scientific community than the meme is. Hopefully, this point of view is also better aligned with the best interest of human health as well.

      The bottom line is that my personal experience in biological research has convinced me that the NIH is more important to progress against disease than these advocacy organizations that essentially serve a special interest and are focused on what amounts to improved palliative care (this can be seen by looking at their list of funded grants). The ALS Association is a perfectly fine cause from the perspective of making the disease more bearable for the families affected, and is money better spent than many other charities. Still, it is the NIH and organizations like it, not the ALS Association, that will “Create a world without ALS”.

      1. The sequester cut $1.5 billion from the annual NIH budget, entirely to score political points.

  9. Haha. I’m looking forward to this if ever I get called out. It’s that hot here in Houston. I would love to get cold water poured on me.

    Good job on passing on the info and great intro and of course donating.

  10. On a totally different subject, look at the progress meter for “The Shell Collector”!

    Fantastic, Hugh! Keep it going!


  11. I will repeat my facebook comment, i think the big shots in Hachette and Amazon should be called out, maybe even together, maybe if those stuffed suits come together to dump ice water one each other, they might loosen up and start talking about other things?

  12. Kathy czarnecki Avatar

    First off, thanks for donating. I am doing the ALS walk in October and getting some donations for that. My Father-In-Law who died last year of ALS was determined to have gotten it as a service related disease. He was on a ship during the Viet Nam War where Agent Orange was housed. Seems there is a lot of connections between ALS and serving in the military (in certain circumstances).

  13. Thanks for doing this, Hugh. My cousin is married to Pete Frates, who is now unable to walk, speak, or eat through his mouth. She’s due with their first child in about two weeks. The success of his viral campaign for support of ALS through the Ice Bucket Challenge is making his inevitable physical decline less painful for everyone in the family.

    And hey… awesome arms, man. Good for you for keeping in shape!


  14. Yeah, I think you just wanted to show off the guns LOL.

    I think President Obama will do this, if he sees the challenge(s) or hears about them. I’m assuming you aren’t the only challenger.

    I’ll have to Google that in a few days, to see if it reached him. :)

    1. I hear he’s already declined the challenge and just donated, which is awesome as far as I’m concerned. The giving money is the best part of this.

      And I thought I showed decorum by putting on any kind of shirt. These things have to dry, you know. :)

  15. Gotta give a shout out to the person who invented this viral campaign for ALS – it’s brilliant.

    Unfortunately, almost half of our donations are going to ALS’ high-paid executive team and not to research or cures…

    Take a look this video:

  16. I would praise this program and challenge as well if more of the money went to research and less to suit salaries and admin fees.

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