Until you have ice water poured directly on your head, you don’t really appreciate a hot August day. You freeze, shudder and scream all at once, the same way you would if your daily newspaper arrived with the headline “Rosie O’Donnell and Playboy Sign Deal.” We’re talking a cardiac-level reaction. But for ALS, I’d do it every day.
It has been thoroughly refreshing to see people encouraging each other for a worthy cause to HELP & SAVE others at a time when headlines have been rightfully dominated by the heinous execution of a reporter by terrorists “over there” and racial violence touched off by shootings “over here.” I need distractions along the way to prevent the news-cycle from becoming overwhelming. To me, a distraction is not denial or avoidance of reality but a breath of fresh air before the next emotional blow. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a welcome and positive respite; a border-less global event to do something incredibly good at a time when multiple facets of evil stared us in the face.
This is relevant to me in a special way. Some years ago a friend, Donald Russell, once looked ALS in the face. He had too many symptoms to leave it to chance and went to see a specialist in Phoenix. The community of friends and family were preparing for the worst but doing so in positive ways. We prayed and appealed to God for Don, thanked God for the impact Don made on young people as a school teacher and basketball coach – and very importantly – prepared to be a support group by doing research about what the horrible path would look like. Thankfully, Don did not have ALS but the experience changed me and since that day, my head turns when I hear the letters A-L-S.
I must note that Don is the husband of bestselling author Karen Kingsbury. Karen is the author of dozens of “Life Changing Fiction” titles that have sold millions of copies and she can make a rock cry with her prose. I always wondered if the brush with the prospect of ALS was one of the many inspirations for her heart-tugging stories.
As of today, it’s $70M+ and counting as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become a movement with a million inspirational leaders to whom I shout-out with woeful understatement: WELL DONE.