And I have reasons...
First let me tell you why I won't not be doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The reason is not that I fear being doused with ice cold water. I have been showering cold nearly every morning since I was 14 and I go to the sauna regularly (not as regularly as I'd like) where I actually enjoy the cold shower afterwards. I find it refreshing and it makes me feel very much alive!
The reason is also not a lack of compassion on my part. During my national service (which I decided not to do as a soldier but a carer) I looked after a patient in the final stages of Multiple Sclerosis, which has very similar symptoms to ALS (or Motor Neuron Disease as it's called in the UK). This is why I know as well as anybody not suffering from them can do what sufferers from diseases which destroy the myelin sheath around nervous fibres have to go through. I changed adult nappies, linked Friedhelm up to his drip feed, administered morphine and sucked phlegm out of his airways so he wouldn't suffocate. I don't know whether he wanted me to or whether he would've prefered choking to death because by the time I started looking after him, he couldn't move any muscle of his body arbitrarily. So it's not that either.
However there are several reasons why I will not be doing the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
One of them is that I don't like to be pressured into doing something. I do give to charity but I want to choose myself which charitable causes I support.
As horrible as ALS is there are diseases and causes of death far more common that do not get the same amount of donations per sufferer. So I want to donate to a cause where money is most needed (see this chart https://twitter.com/Scott_Gilmore/status/502134622567010304)
A reason linked to this is what is referred to as charity cannibalism. People in general don't give more because of donation drives as the ALS IBC. The donations just become redistributed so that other charities will with all likelihood be losing out because the money has already been spent.
I'm also not enjoying Facebook as much as I used to recently because the ALS IBC has become a bit of a fad and it's turned so boring. I don't really want to be one of those people clogging your social media stream with my admittedly gorgeous body (irony warning) being subjected to an ice shower.
Even though I do not accept the ALS IBC, I however want to nominate all of you (yes, every single one of you reading this) to consider:
- setting up a standing order for regular donations of charities that you feel strongly about
- doing any kind of voluntary work where you can use your talents and gifts
- giving blood regularly (this will no doubt turn you into a life-saver)
- start thinking about the impact the production of goods you consume and then make a conscious choice about the products you buy
- and and and
I don't do all of those things all the time but I will try harder, I promise.
I do want to make an extra donation (since I have been nominated ;-) ), however I will donate to a charity that is linked to all the water that has been used to freeze all these bodies in the last weeks:
UNICEF has a project that aims to provide 500,000 children with clean drinking water who are currently becoming ill and dying because they do not have access to clean water (see here for info: www.unicef.de/wasser)
Finally, if you do want to see me doused with ice cold water give me a ring or drop me line and we'll arrange going to the sauna together!