Joining the ranks of media moguls, tech giants, musicians, actors and politicians, several Qatar residents have been taking up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The fundraising effort requires participants to be doused with a bucket of ice water while being filmed. They then nominate three or four other people to do the same thing within 24 hours.
In one version of the challenge, those who participate are required to donate $10, while those who are challenged but opt out are supposed to donate $100 to help fund research on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”
There is currently no cure for this fatal illness, which affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
However, in most cases, the challenge is carried out in lieu of a monetary donation, with nominees carrying it out in the name of raising awareness of the condition.
Still, the attention has paid off – the American ALS Association said it has raised some $31.5 million in the past month, compared to $1.9 million raised during the same period a year ago.
It’s not clear who carried out the first Ice Bucket Challenge in Qatar, but many local residents have recently posted videos of themselves participating in the effort. They have also been nominating friends, both in Qatar and abroad, to continue the challenge.
For example, Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon, co-founder of ILoveQatar.net, recently posted a Youtube video of his take on the ALS fundraiser. He in turn challenged several others, including Qatari comedian Hamad Al-Amari:
ILQ is also holding a mass challenge tomorrow (Aug. 22) at 8am at the St. Regis Doha. Participants are asked to bring their own buckets and towels, and to dress modestly. The hotel will provide water and ice.
Another resident who took the challenge a few days ago is Tejas Kumar.
The 21-year-old Indian expat, who this week posted his video on Facebook, said he enjoyed the communal aspect of the challenge – which has been taken up by noted personalities like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, George W. Bush, Steven Spielberg, Lady Gaga and David Beckham.
Speaking to Doha News, Kumar added:
“It’s a pretty great way to get people talking – and that’s what matters. Sure, money to fund research is great, but what gets you money is people, and what gets you people is awareness. Creating a website with a payment gateway and putting the link everywhere doesn’t nearly work as effectively as a viral, people-fueled movement.
That’s exactly what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is. Moreover, some people simply don’t have money…because they’re genuinely strapped for cash. For such people who are willing but unable, this is a great way to further this noble cause.”
Tiffany Ho, a 28-year-old American expat who was nominated by a friend in Doha, said the challenge motivated her to learn more about ALS:
“I (had) heard (about) the name of the disease before but didn’t really know how it affected patients with (it), even after I started seeing the campaign. It wasn’t until I was challenged myself that I read about it,” she said.
Would you consider dousing yourself in ice water for charity? Thoughts?