Monday, 25 August 2014

My Unsolicited Opinion: The ALS article that went too far

I have seen this article shared on Facebook several times and I've been holding my tongue.... But it just keeps being there, slapping every person affected by ALS in the face, and their family & friends & healthcare providers and anyone else this disease has impacted. Here is the link if you want to read it:  

This article irritates me for two main reasons:

1) This disease is not preventable, not curable. Many of the causes of the competitive diseases in this article are lifestyle related, preventable & manageable. (ie. smoking, diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress, etc.) I say many because I acknowledge that genetics and other inborn defects are absolutely causing chronic illness and therefore some of these illnesses are less/not preventable. 

2) Who is this guy to decide that one chronic & terminal illness is less important than another? They're all horrible. If you have ever seen or cared for an individual with ALS, you will appreciate the how serious and terrible the condition is, and I doubt that you would say that it is a less deserving cause.

A few other thoughts:

"Only about 600 people per year die (of ALS) in Canada". 

--- So it's less important? How many deaths per year would make it a charity worth your money? Is there a guideline? 

"ALS research is not an urgent need".

--- That's a pretty strong statement. I wonder how the author would feel about the urgency of this illness if he were unable to feed himself because he had lost all motor function of his limbs (and I suppose unable to type such an insensitive article)?

As far as the article implying that its just a fad or a dare, aren't lots of different campaigns for different charities similar? I donate to the Cancer Society because they come to my door. I donate to CHEO because Walmart cashiers ask me when I shop. I donate snowsuits to CPAN because the Scottish lady on the radio gets to me every year. All of those campaigns put you on the spot in essentially the same way that this one does. This is just another campaign for another worthy cause and they nailed it. People are gaining awareness and it's voluntary just like any other campaign.  

I say good for ALS for creating such an amazing campaign to achieve the purpose that they set out to! (Probably blew their goal out of the water, in fact!) 

And hopefully this can be a motivation to other worthy causes for future fundraising and awareness efforts! (How about if the millions of smokers out there save their cigarette money and donate it to cancer research instead? Or next time we are tempted to go through the McDonald's drivethru, how about take that $15 and send it to the Heart Institute instead? This guy's article seems to imply that the population doesn't have enough money to go around, however people are making choices that are leading to the top killers... And paying for it.)

ALS is not preventable, it is difficult to manage, it is incurable and terminal. I think that's worthy of my 56 second video and my money.

I just wanted to put this out there. It's sad and absolutely insensitive that this article is spreading the message that it is.  #ALSIceBucketChallenge 

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