Why I Won’t Be Doing The #icebucketchallenge


Time reported yesterday that since the start of the Ice Bucket Challenge a few short weeks ago more than $80 Million dollars has been raised with the help of over 1.7 million new donors who are participating in the #icebucketchallenge. Once again social media has had a monumental impact on raising awareness for a cause.

The reality is that this challenge has brought massive attention to ALS and hopefully an understanding about what those who have ALS go through on a daily basis. All of that is good. It is.

My best friend Karlena also had a neuromuscular disease. Not as well known as ALS, Karlena had Ataxia and it had similar effects on her body. At the age of 27 she started showing her first “symptoms” of the disease when the gate in her walk changed. She initially needed assistance with a cane and then progressed quickly to a scooter/wheelchair.

Talking became more and more difficult, as well as eating and swallowing. Towards the end of her life at the age of 35, Karlena weighed a little less than 100 pounds, was fed by a feeding tube, had a pump the size of a hockey puck installed in her abdomen that delivered pain meds to her spasming muscles and relied on others to bathe and dress her.

It was difficult to watch her continue to deteriorate. I saw it less than her family did, obviously, but it was heartbreaking. She had an amazing faith through all of it and she is missed terribly.

When I first started seeing the #icebucketchallenge come through my FB news feed, I wasn’t sure what to think. If I am honest, I was just hoping that I wouldn’t get tagged to do the challenge because there wasn’t anything appealing about dumping ice cold water over my head and making a video of it.

It was as though every other post in my feed is a video of someone else participating in the challenge.

And something started stiring in my spirit a little. I saw the picture I posted above and it stuck with me.

One of the videos I watched showed a son taking care of his mother, she reminded me of Karlena. I thought that if I was tagged maybe I could do the challenge to honor her and donate to the Ataxia foundation instead.

According to the ALS website, approximately 5600 people are diagnosed each year. And it is estimated that at any given time 30,000 Americans may have the disease.

Knowing how it was for Karlena and her family, this is heartbreaking. And my prayers go out to those families. I have such respect for the men, women and parents that take care of and watch their loved ones suffer with these types of diseases.

So I really mean no disrespect. But, I can’t help but feel that maybe we could use our social media influence and impact so many more for the greater good.

According to the facts on Water.org, 3.4 million people die each year from water-related illnesses. 

780 million people lack access to clean water.

Let me ask you this, did you worry about the cleanliness of the water you drank or bathed in this morning? I didn’t….

“An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.”  water.org

These statistics are staggering to me.

And I wonder what would happen if some famous celebrity or athlete were to tweet or hashtag a challenge that would bring awareness to the overwhelming crisis of poverty that exists in our world today?

Would it become an internet sensation like the #icebucketchallenge is?

Would people rally behind it? Imagine what $80 million dollars could do in helping bring clean water wells to impoverished communities.

Please hear me on this, I don’t have any problem with people who have done, or will do the #icebucketchallenge. If you believe in the cause and want to help raise awareness, then go for it.

My son did it, people in my church and my community have done the challenge. I was nominated by dear friends whom participated in the challenge and who I love and respect. And that is OK, I do not want to come off as though I have all the answers, because I don’t.

My biggest fear in writing this post is that someone may feel as though I am trying to say that the people who suffer with ALS are not worth this…that isn’t how I feel at all. I know the pain of loss firsthand, if I could have fixed things for Karlena I would have. I guess I would just love to see such an enormous social media movement like this happen that impacts the world.

Let’s use social media and end poverty.

Let’s tweet and raise awareness for the people that don’t have access to the internet, medical research and clean water.

Let’s create a hashtag, or a challenge that brings more awareness to the millions of people that are denied the very basic of needs to survive each day.

Be aware, be in prayer, and ask how you might make a difference…in all that you do!

Like I said, I don’t have all the answers. I know that tomorrow I will get up and take a 10 minute shower. Someone in my family will probably throw away food that they don’t want to finish. I will take for granted all of the lavish things that surround me and whine when my internet is down for 2 days.

Yep, I am a huge hypocrite.

I can blog about injustice and poverty, but until I do something about it, I am all talk and no action.

So this time, instead of doing the #icebucketchallenge and donating to the ALS foundation, I am going to seek to get involved with an organization that helps provide clean water wells. I haven’t had a chance to research all of the sites yet – so if you know of one that is good please let me know.

Until the day that all of poor are helped, our hungry are fed, our thirsty are given clean water and our sick are healed we must keep fighting. Entering the fight with you.

Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Photo Credit: Postmemes.com

0 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Doing The #icebucketchallenge

  1. Chelle

    Amen. I didn’t do it either, and I was prayerful and respectful in framing my response. If the outcome of the ice bucket challenge is to be people actively involved in causes they support at every level, then it has done a good thing. For me, yesterday, as Michael Brown, Jr.s parents wept before his casket, the only thing that resonated with me was #BlackLivesMatter. I applaud you for your earnest message, as say I am with you.
    In peace,

  2. Melissa W

    What a great post!! You put so many of my thoughts into beautiful words. We were challenged but because of being sick and busy we just never did it – well those are my excuses. I have to admit I had a stirring in my heart and I thought of that same graphic you used. We are going to donate to a local family that is dealing with ALS. He has a wonderful testimony! (It would not let me add their website so I put it in the place of my website. It is also under Go Fund Me – Help the Hollands.)

  3. Sarah

    This is such a tough one….b/c you are so right, there are lots of causes that deserve as much attention as ALS, but sadly don’t. I hate to see that everyone gets on board with one cause while there are so many others that get hardly any attention at all. But, at the same time, I think it’s great to see people rallying behind ANY good cause. I do think that this is where the body of Christ can come in and try to help in that effort – sometimes it seems like the Christian community gets more “noisy” about political and social issues {not saying it’s bad to take a stand on those issues} when perhaps we should be “louder” about trying to increase awareness about lots of other issues and rallying behind causes that could really show the hands and feet of Christ. Great post and I completely respect your opinion- my opinion is still forming so I haven’t posted mine yet! 🙂

  4. Kristin Hill Taylor

    I’ve had an uneasiness about these ice bucket challenges since they started showing up in my Facebook News Feed. I can’t quite put into words why that uneasiness is there, but you nailed some of it. I’m so grateful for this brave post. Well done, Kristin.

  5. Beth S.

    Kristin, If I could I’d reach out and hug you right now. Instead would you take my virtual hug? I really have been unable to process my thoughts as to why I have not taken this challenge. So far I have sat quietly ignoring that I was tagged. But you’ve captured many of the thoughts going through my mind. I applaud how this challenge has brought awareness to ALS and it’s beautiful to see many make a donation. I’m always careful to not do something simply because everyone else is. My husband and I had considered instead posting that we were making a donation to the Wounded Warrior Foundation. And then I didn’t know why I had to even share that. I guess my hope is that the challenge stirred hearts to consider how they are giving. I know before the challenge even came about my heart had been stirred which recently led me to sponsor a child through Compassion International. Okay, I’m starting to ramble. What you may find me doing is including a link to your post in the post I do on Friday saying … “This is at least close to where I stand on the matter of accepting the challenge.” I’m so glad you wrote this. Bless you for your honest heart. xoxo

    1. Kristin Post author

      Wow – thanks Beth!! I just couldn’t get past the nagging feelings I was having…God gave me the words pretty quickly this morning! I love that you are finding ways to be involved, help others and following where God is calling you to give!

  6. Maria Marino

    In a single post Kristin you have given voice to the good the ice bucket challenge has brought about, tenderly and sensitively showed us what it is like to live with neuromuscular disease through your experience with Karlena, and the plight of millions without clean drinking water. Thank you for your brave and insightful post. I am proud of you for speaking your heart and taking the plunge to get involved with an organization that provides clean water wells. World Vision is one excellent NPO that I’m familiar with. You may also feel akin to Blood:Water, founded by Jars of Clay since you have a music anointing.

  7. LeeAnn Taylor {The Mosaic Life}

    Hi Kristin,

    I also felt uneasy about the challenge and was glad I haven’t been tagged.

    As far as your question about clean water, our church has participated in a campaign with Charity:Water and raised funds for a well. Their follow-up is wonderful, as we received an email about 18 months after donating showing us the Google Map of where the well was built with our funds. I’ve also heard the founder speak at the Catalyst Conference and was impressed with his heart in combination with his marketing savy to get the message out. He’s using social media to change the world!


  8. Sonya McCllough

    Yes & Amen! I warned my entire family that they are in no way to challenge me for I also believe it has gone to far and much of the funding donated will not materialized in the end.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *