Staff editorial: Keeping causes alive after social media hype dies

It’s November, and the charity of the month is No-Shave November. In case anybody is wondering, it’s when many men cease all trimming and shaving of their facial hair to raise money for prostate cancer.

Because cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy lose their hair, men are supposed to donate money saved from not purchasing shaving materials to the cause.

While some men will shave their mustaches or beards come Dec. 1, others plan to keep the facial hair going. However, it makes one wonder if the dedication to fight cancer remains once the facial hair comes off.

The same can be said about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Just a few months ago, the Internet was flooded with people challenging each other to either donate to the ALS Association or pour a bucket of iced-water over their heads.

While the chilly action managed to raise over $100 million by those who genuinely participated, it appeared that many people began to videotape themselves mostly for their 15 seconds of fame.

Other participants barely put in any ice, which is completely missing the point. The reason why iced water is used in the first place is to demonstrate the numbing sensation one suffering from ALS feels.

Now, the videos and the media-made sensation of the awareness have come to a halt. Like florals or a burgundy shade from a spring/summer fashion collection, it is over; people have moved on to the next thing.

When it comes to charity, the question remains: are people in it for the long haul or is it just a fad? For all the times some folks argued about why the charity is or isn’t effective, where is that passion now?

Are they putting that anger toward working for said charity, organizing rallies, finding ways to make more money or to raise awareness? Or are they busy snapchatting their pumpkin spice latte?

When it comes to charities or any kind of cause, it should not be a one-time thing — at least, not to act on it as a fad. There are many people who take their cause to heart, working around the clock to make sure everyone knows.

Moreover, they are constantly working to ensure that people are aware of ways to help. But let’s be real: not everyone has the money or the time, such as the average UH student. The organizations make it easy to contribute.

The way the iced water felt on one’s body should have lit a fire inside one’s chest; growing hair for a month should cause anger that cancer is still taking the little things in life away.

Even the ALS Association has said that if people really wanted to help them, people should write to Congress and tell them to not cut medical funding.

If these diseases make one angry enough, one will make some time or set some money aside. The power is in actions, not the fads.

1 Comment

  • Though I agree with your message, I just have to say that ice water was not first used to mimic the symptoms of ALS. The challenge started out in northern states last year as the 24 Hour Cold Water Challenge where people had to jump into a freezing cold body of water within 24 hours of being nominated or donate to charity of their choice. One big recipient was the NFFF. Some challenges spread in communities to donate to a local family or group. Even before that specific challenge, polar plunges have been used for years to raise money for charities. As the Challenge continued and the weather got warmer, people started using ice water. Eventually, a few people began specifically mentioning ALS charities, and it gained the most awareness as being related to ALS, but ALS was not the original cause.

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