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Charity just a social fad?

This is something that has been puzzling me for a little while now and even more so with all the ice bucket challenges that I see flooding the social media; why do we need to do something like that to give money to help a good cause? And why does the condition have to affect someone well known or rich before the rest of the world is seen to care? Of course I’m not downplaying the help that will come from giving to charities and the money that some stunts can raise but more the need to do such a silly challenge and only ever when someone deemed ‘important’ is struck down with the illness.

I have seen this happen so many times in the past, when someone famous or someone with power gets struck down with an illness there appears to be a lot of media coverage and then a mass campaign in order to raise money for a cure or a better life for the illness suffers.  Lance Armstrong, Jade Goody, to name just a couple of people that got struck down by a severe illness, which then spurred on a huge charity outcry and vast amounts of money to be donated to help the suffers around the world. However, I wonder why it takes someone like that to have the illness for there to be so much money raised for the charity. There are possibly hundreds of people suffering from various illnesses hoping that people around the world will give money to their charity in order to make their lives better or help aid towards finding a cure. Often these charities survive on what the good people of the public give to them but all that changes when a high profile person is struck down with the illness as there is campaign after campaign in order to raise funds and awareness. It makes me wonder why the news of a high profile person suffering is more important and note worthy than the average person who has to rely upon the NHS and the services available.

Of course I am not trying to say that those are suffering from an illness and are high profile are not suffering the same as those of the general public with the same illness; illnesses do not discriminate after all. Having a life threatening illness is never an easy thing to deal with, for the patient or the family but why can the general public not do huge events like the race for life, for those in the general public without celebrity backing or support. Does it mean that an illness is only a problem when it takes a celebrity or a high profiled figure away from the world?

The main charity challenge that seems to be everywhere I look these days is that ice bucket challenge and I truly don’t understand it. It was first started with the deal that, you either give money to the charity or dunk a bucket of ice water over your head; to me that sounds like a bad start to begin with. Though now it seems almost everyone in the world is dunking a bucket of water of their heads and getting others to do it. However, my question is, why? Why do they need to use a bucket of water in order to give to charity? Should we all not see a good cause and simply give the money to the charity rather than wasting water and making a viral fool of ourselves.  Maybe it is just me, but I do not understand the need for it, they are not being sponsored and raising money that way, like the Race for Life or even Children in Need, simply dumping water over themselves then nominating someone else to do the same. Could they not just save the time and the water by giving money to charity and then nominating someone else to do the same? Or even actually raising more money by being sponsored to do the task and matching the money raised by the sponsors.

My favourite ice bucket challenge video is that completed by Sir Patrick Stewart:


Watching this I am glad that I am not the only one with the same thought, that you can give money to a charity simply by giving. Another item that I have found upon my social media is a very strong and emotional image surrounding the ice bucket challenge:

While the rest of the world is throwing water over their heads in the name of a charity there of many men, women and children in Africa having dirty water, limited water or even no water at all. So while we think of it as a laugh and joke, a fun way to supposedly raise money for charity there are people there dying of dehydration that would be grateful for just a drop of water you pour over your head.

Do we truly lose that much focus on the rest of the troubled world when things like this consume the social media? There are people suffering all around the world that are in serious need of help so why not help the general public around the world without need for a song and dance, without need of a celebrity to tell you to.  The news today is that the ice bucket challenge has risen over $50 million for that one charity, it is truly remarkable, I will not down play the kindness and support that the world can give but if the world had this money to give to one charity why not share it to others that do not have such a public social showing.

Do something wise, break away from the rest of society and simply give. Soon enough this challenge will fizzle away but the need for the charity to support those with ASL and many other charities around the world will still need our help and support. Where will our focus be then? Will the charity just become a distant memory, the time of a wet t-shirt and laughing at others being soaked? Give, just give; don’t follow the masses give to a charity and help save a life that may have been long since forgotten. The illness does not just go away as the attention drifts, the need and support does not go away when the cameras turn off.


  • Marina Lindsay Marina Lindsay says:

    I agree, I’m sure some celebrities are genuinely wishing to support charities that are close to their heart, but the Hello magazine style spreads of glamorous stars patting starving children (who probably have no idea who they are) on the head make me cringe.

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