To the Editor: September 3, 2014

Written by on September 3, 2014 in Blogs, Letters to the Editor - No comments

Ice Bucket Challenge has lasting impact

To the Editor:

I share Ms. Heid’s opinion (Editor’s note: See “Regarding your cover photo,” Aug. 27 here) that many #slacktivism trends don’t have any lasting impact, but would argue that the Ice Bucket Challenge is different, and suggest it is for that reason it has continued to persist. It’s not abstrac–it is a call to donate to a specific charity which has a great record of providing grants to ALS researchers who are working persistently to try and find causes and treatments for the horrible disease.

Who is doing this “research,” you ask? People like my wife for one. She is part of the Packard Center at Johns Hopkins University here in Baltimore, and has devoted her career to the study of ALS and other neuro-muscular disorders. Funding for basic research is at an historic low in the US and will only get worse with the gridlock in Congress. The fact that the ALS Association has been able to raise nearly $95 million dollars (500 percent of its total fundraising in fiscal year 2013) means it will be able to fund grants that pay salaries and supplies for researchers here in Baltimore and around the country. This money goes directly to support a cure–and that’s a great thing.

I applaud Ms. Heid’s reluctance to donate to charities she “knows nothing about.” I also encourage everyone to do the research, using any of the many resources available on the Internet. The ALS Association has a 97-percent Accountability and Transparency rating. Simply head to their website and you will see where the “dough” is going. If you want your “hard-earned money to fund a legitimate cause,” you have found one with this initiative.

There are a lot of terrible things going on in the world, but the Ice Bucket Challenge is a positive one that we can all be part of. I did the Ice Bucket Challenge and pass the challenge on to Ms. Heid!

Daryl Phillips
Highlandtown

Editor’s note: Ms. Heid accepted Mr. Phillips’ challenge, and made a contribution directly to the Robert Packard Center, though she declined to film herself dumping ice water over her head.

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