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updated: 8/20/2014 6:39 PM

Editorial: Don't dump cold water on this idea

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Tired of seeing cute videos of people dumping ice water on their heads? My goodness, then just keep scrolling because this simple but brilliant idea has taken off, big time, with impressive results.

We don't need the negative Nancys of the world (sorry all you positive Nancys) raining on our parade. With the pages of this newspaper full of tough-to-read news lately (Ferguson, Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine, just to name a few troubled hot spots), how is it that some think raising millions of dollars for a worthwhile cause is anything but good news?

"How do you capture people's attention? In this case, the gimmick of the ice bucket challenge gets people to say, 'That's cool. Why on earth are they doing that?'" said Liz Livingston Howard, director of nonprofit executive education at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, as quoted in a story Tuesday by the Daily Herald's Katlyn Smith.

Daily Herald editors and editorial board members have gotten into the act.

In his video, interspersed with scenes from the classic horror movie Carrie, Managing Editor Jim Baumann called out Lake County Editor Pete Nenni and DuPage County and Fox Valley News Director Jim Davis.

Davis, in turn, called out Senior Vice President and Editor John Lampinen.

Lampinen, who saw the challenge while working in downtown Arlington Heights, responded immediately with a video of his own.

Jim Slusher, assistant managing editor for opinion, took his drenching as the Daily Herald produced an editorial for Wednesday's editions praising the success of the challenge and acknowledging the eagerness of the public to do something good in the midst of so much bad news in the world.

Then Nenni also took his turn at getting a cold soaking in the interest of a good cause.

Certainly Howard now has a potent case study to use in those management classes. The Ice Bucket Challenge seeks to raise money and awareness of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig's disease. The ALS Foundation says it has received $22.9 million in donations from July 29 through Tuesday, compared with $1.9 million over the same period last year. The number of new donors stands at 453,210.

How did they do it? By using social media and making it simple: Dump a bucket of ice water on your head and challenge three others to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to ALS. Most people dump the water and make some sort of contribution. That's why this post on one of our Facebook pages was irritating: "How does dumping ice on your head help the ALS foundation? If you want to help, give them the money instead.

Perhaps this post, shared on the same Facebook timeline, would help explain it for those who just can't put on those rose-tinted glasses, even for a good cause. This came from a blog written by Bo Stern at bostern.com, whose husband suffers from ALS, responding to an especially negative article on Slate. com:

"We are in the fight of our lives with this monster, and the very LAST thing I want is for people to give quietly, anonymously, and then slink away. Raise the roof! Raise a ruckus! Call all sorts of attention to yourself! I will be happy for you and every Facebook like you receive, as you nudge ALS an inch or two closer to the collective public consciousness."

Powerful words. Now fill that bucket (make sure it's cold, with lots of ice!) and pour it on your head. Donate some money, too, and call out your family and friends to do the same. It's likely you or those you include have never before given to ALS. And it's a good bet you still will give to the charities you normally support.

"Frankly, the power of an individual can really make a difference," Northwestern's Howard said. How can anyone argue with that?

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