“Hey sonny, how about a little ice?”

This deleted scene from James Cameron’s 1997 epic Titanic illustrates the well-known concept of “irony” – the Unsinkable Molly Brown requesting a bit of ice for her nightcap as the ship passes the massive iceberg that proves to be its undoing. My apologies for the blasphemy from the crow’s nest there – I didn’t write the script.

A trend has been sweeping social media the last few days to raise both awareness and money for ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This terrifically debilitating disease causes the body to slowly waste away, trapping the mind and soul, leaving the person helpless and prisoner behind his eyes – unable to move, to speak, and eventually, breathe. There is no cure. Videos and challenges to either donate money to the ALS foundation and/or dump a bucket of ice water over your head have been popping up on Facebook left and right. What is interesting though is the number of counter-videos and essays I have seen saying “Why should I dump a bucket of water over my head? It’s not going to do anything for ALS research.”

No kidding. Yet how many people have puzzle-piece ribbons on the back of their car supporting those with autism? Or sport something pink during the month of October for breast cancer awareness? Or tie a yellow ribbon to their car antennae to remember troops overseas? Pick a ribbon color – there is a cause it represents. (Dystonia ribbons are blue, in case you were curious.) ALS affects even fewer people than does dystonia – about 30,000. If it weren’t for Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking, there’s a chance that no one would know what it is.

So if you get “tagged”, go ahead and dump that water over your head. Tag a few more of your friends. If you can and if it’s a cause you feel is important, donate to the ALS foundation or other charity of your choice. There’s nothing wrong with raising awareness for a good cause and having fun with it along the way. If you don’t want to give yourself hypothermia, that’s totally ok too. Get yourself some white and blue pinstriped ribbon. (Lou Gehrig was a Yankee.) Say a prayer for the sufferers and their families and their caretakers. Say one for the scientists and researchers too. Support doesn’t need to cost a cent.

Sometimes, the best kind of support is just knowing people care.



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