Teens and the ALS #IceBucketChallenge: What they need to know

Ice-Bucket-Challenge

Justin Bieber did it. Taylor Swift did it. Even Katy Perry did it. So it’s likely your teen has done it. The ALS #IceBucketChallenge that is.

If you’re teen has done the challenge, it’s important they realize this isn’t just a celebrity trend to copy or something all the cool kids are doing on their Instagram feed. It’s an important cause that they need to be informed about.

If your teen has done the challenge, here are some important things to go over with your teen.

1. You need to actually donate
The Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t just about getting likes on your picture. The point is to raise awareness and money for ALS. The rule is that if you do the challenge, you don’t have to donate money. But this challenge is a great opportunity to teach your teen about giving back to society.  So whether you have your teen give up some of their allowance or pay them to do a couple chores, make sure your teen donates to ALS Canada.

2. Explain to them what ALS is
Most teens aren’t aware of what ALS is, so be sure to explain to your child what the disease is. Here are some key points to highlight:

1. ALS is a neuro-degenerative disease that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The disease causes progressive paralysis.
2. About 80 percent of people with ALS die within five years of diagnosis. As the disease progresses it becomes hard for the person to breathe or swallow.
3. Currently about 3,000 Canadians have ALS, but the World Health Organization predicts that by 2040 neuro-degenrative diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s will surpass cancer to become the second highest cause of death in Canada.

Your teen might not know someone with ALS, but it’s likely they one day will. So why not donate now to help find a cure for this disease.

3. Why they need to use cold ice water
The point of using cold ice water isn’t just to get a funny video clip of you screaming. The ice cold water is supposed to give you a very brief idea of what it’s like to live with ALS. The cold water actually shocks your system so much that it temporarily paralyzes you, which simulates the feeling of what it’s like for a person suffering from ALS. Make sure your child is aware of this so they can understand for just a few seconds what it’s like to lose the ability to move your body. It will make them incredibly grateful for their health and ability to move!

Has your child down the #IceBucketChallenge?

Image courtesy of WikiCommons/slgckgc