The Power of Awareness

Social Media is a powerful tool. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc give the masses power to essentially communicate anything to not just their friends and family, but potentially the entire world. 

Most of us enjoy these platforms as mindless entertainment, or to keep in touch with long-distance friends and family, or to secretly stalk all our ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. 

But how about when this “mindless” platform actually gets used for some good? 

For instance: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 

THE ALS ASSOCIATION

I truly do not understand the negativity I’ve been seeing on Facebook especially about how this challenge is “narcissistic,” “pointless,” “idiotic.” These things are personally very offensive to me. I understand very much that not everyone who endures the challenge actually donates, but simply look at the ALS site (http://www.alsa.org/) and the numbers don’t lie. In fact, the association put out a press release today (August 20, 2014) stating that the ALS Association as received $31.5 MILLION in donations compared to just $1.9 million during the same period last year (July 29, 2013 – August 20, 2013). 

So PLEASE, if you have negative thoughts about the Ice Bucket Challenge, respectfully keep them to yourself. OR BETTER YET, donate to your favorite charity! There are SO many people struggling with cancer, and diabetes, lupus, heart disease, MS, etc. Not to mention people who don’t have access to food or clean water. 

So while you’re posting on Facebook about the last brownie you ate, or putting up another video of a cute cat (both of which, I’m guilty of… so no hate), maybe think about how much your life (and someone else’s) would get better if you donated your money or (if you don’t have the funds) your time. NEVER underestimate the importance of volunteering or simply spreading awareness. 

While we’re on the topic of awareness, I also want to address the people who think the attention ALS is getting, isn’t actually doing anything to further the treatment of the disease. The money to the association is definitely one argument, but how about that young scientist or doctor who wants to start his/her research on a cure? Or how about the billionaire investor that funds this person? Can you honestly tell me that MORE people knowing about this horrible disease is a bad thing?? 

My personal favorite cause, which to donate has always been breast cancer, since my mother, Rosemary Allen, passed away of stage 4 in 2011. AWARENESS and making sure women (and men) regularly get checked for lumps CAN SAVE LIVES. I repeat, AWARENESS and EARLY DETECTION can save LIVES. 

I know this may not be the same with ALS, as there is no cure, but the buzz we as a population are creating is our scream for treatment. It’s a scream for a cure! 

My cousin was diagnosed with ALS last year, and I’m very committed to spreading the education, and furthering the scientific research to find treatment and a cure. You can read her story and donate here (https://www.chipinforchris.com/). I know Christine, for one, has been overwhelmed with the amount of support she has received, as she wrote a very touching Facebook post thanking friends and family and all those who participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. She said ALS is something that is “usually discussed in hushed voices because it’s so scary.” She also thanked everyone for keeping her laughing and happy. 

So think about THAT next time you post some dumb, self-absorbed post about how this challenge does “nothing,” and is “pointless” and “idiotic.” Go back to your posts about what you made for dinner, and leave the rest of us to spread the LOVE AND HOPE! 

I have yet to be nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, but I’ve decided that if I’m nominated, not only will I donate to ALS, but I’ll also sign up for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in NYC Sept. 7th, in addition to my Avon Breast Cancer Walk I’m doing in October. 

Now, all I ask is that everyone who reads this post, PLEASE go out and do one of the following: (1. Donate to ALS (if you can) (2. Spread awareness about ALS through the Ice Bucket Challenge if you do not have the funds to donate (3. Donate, volunteer or spread awareness for your favorite cause (4. Tell those people who are in need of some love, that you love them

So here are some websites to check out!

ALS Association: http://www.alsa.org/

Chip in for Chris (My cousin, who is courageously battling ALS): https://www.chipinforchris.com/

My Avon Walk Site: bit.ly/shannonavonwalk

Now make like Taylor Swift and SHAKE IT OFF! 

Also… watching Dave Grohl re-enact Carrie as he performed the Ice Bucket Challenge, was THOROUGHLY amusing… 

foo-fighters-ice-bucket

n-DAVE-GROHL-large300

xoxo 

Shan Babe

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