Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why I Wrote the Check

I had managed to stay under the radar for quite a while. I haven’t blogged for a bit. I haven’t really spent much time hanging out on social media as of late. None of this has to do with ice or ALS or being challenged (double entendre intended), however, it has worked to my advantage. Out of sight, out of mind, right? That is, until last night. My husband, our youngest and I were challenged to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I can’t speak for them, but I will be writing a check, and here’s why:

First of all, charity is important to me -- always has been. It’s great that people are waking up to the ravaging effects of a disease that has been killing people for years. But, if you haven’t heard, if you aren’t aware, you have been living under a rock. My dumping a bucket of ice over my head cannot possibly make one more person aware that ALS exists, ice is cold, and thousands of people everywhere are choosing to dump buckets on their heads because…

And this leads me to my Number Two. It is in vogue. And most things “in vogue” are picked off by every bandwagon jumper and wanna be that comes down the pike. Just like a Vuitton knockoff, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been corrupted and misused to death -- lots of dumping and not nearly enough giving -- to any charity. While it’s great the challenge has done some wonderful things for ALS lately, this too shall pass. People will go back to living their lives of privilege and “I-want-ness,” totally disregarding charity of any kind. And next thing you know, the “in” thing will be The Yellow Snow Challenge for homeless pets (No? Don’t think it’ll take off?) And it will raise money because people love to be “in.” Sad.

Thirdly, I am bitter. I admit it. Where were all these folks when ALS painfully, slowly, deliberately took the life of Tommy F., one of the first patients I’d ever seen endure something so horrible? I watched day after day as his wife, saint that she was, visited and encouraged and struggled and tried to make merry. I didn’t appreciate her defiant, monumental endurance in the midst of such pain. Today, married to someone for whom I’d give my life, I wonder how her heart didn’t simply give out. She read to him and spoke to him for hours, knowing his mind was sharp as a tack and her husband was there, trapped in a body that was betraying him every moment of the day. She forced a smile when he could no longer eat, and she stroked his hair when the only thing he would spell with his eyes was, “Let me d--“ (she would hush him and refuse to allow him to continue). It’s great these folks are all here now, but why? Because it is in vogue? Because everybody is talking about it? Because fifteen minutes of fame is ours, thanks to social media? Well, if it works, if people continue to give, if people remember the victims and the families who are victims as well, I guess it’s all worth it, right?

So, dump your ice, post your videos, but don’t forget to write your checks and say your prayers.

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