Unless you have been on another planet for the last month, you have seen the many, many ice bucket challenges that people around the world are doing to raise funds for ALS. Bravo, them; I say. Even with a bit of envy as anyone involved in raising funds can appreciate when something of that magnitude works.
This incredible event has many thinking, should the charity I belong to, do the same?
I’m a creature of history; to learn from the successes and not to repeat things that have not worked so well. I study things to see what is the real reason things happen. Over the years almost every charity does a walkathon and I am not so sure that anyone did so with apologies to the March of Dimes, which was the first of the large-scale walks. What charities did, though—and here is the lesson; they made the event ‘theirs’.
The JDF (now JDRF) Walk for the Cure (which was the name until changed to Walk to Cure Diabetes) took the same concept of the walk and under the genius of a man named Steve Leonard created an event that literally put JDRF on the map as nothing before. It was just a walkathon, but Steve added the idea of family teams to make the event a powerhouse. The lesson: if you do a fund-raiser that is out there already—-make it your own.
The ribbon. The pink ribbon for Breast Cancer…..they were first, right? Not so fast. The people involved in the AIDS movement just might beg to differ with you as their red ribbon may very well have been the first. What the breast cancer folks did, is take that concept to a much larger audience, women; and state something that resonated with them to take it to a larger audience. The lesson: take something that will resonate with those you are involved. The ribbon is not what was new……making it ‘pink’ and standing behind it in large numbers; perfect.
The rubber bracelet. “We have to get a bracelet and make it our color and get to everyone we know”. First? Nope. That honor belongs to the now disgraced Lance Armstrong. Live Strong’s bright yellow bracelet was the first and others copied it; and could it be that the yellow bracelet was only someone else’s MIA metal bracelets from years ago? Where, for a donation, you received a metal bracelet of a Prisoner of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA) from the Viet Nam era and wore it until their return, or being found? The more an idea changes, the more they are the same.
So you see, not so new.
Now the ice bucket phenomena? And it is, just that. Truth is there have been challenges for many things that go far back but this one was the right event at the right time. It started with a bunch of guys who wanted to do something for their buddy, a baseball player from BC in New England who was stricken with ALS. From there the rest is history.
Why/how this happened? Well many will tell you many reasons and I’m sure experts have already begun to try to analyze it so they ‘can teach’ others about it. It’s my belief that it comes down to utilizing the social media in its finest form and utilizing large numbers of people to spread the word. Because this young man had many friends—it was not 2 became 4 became 8 became 16; more like 50 became 100 became 200 became 400 and away they went.
Lately, many people have asked why is there nothing like this out there for diabetes. A bucket of water? NO. But look around you. To utilize a wonderful quote by Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ; I know that if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire, I’ll never go any further than my own back yard. For if it isn’t there, I never really lost it.
Amen sister. Before everyone starts to look for THAT NEW ice bucket challenge, I say you do not even have to look further than your own backyard. What you do have to do—-is get behind it.
My good friend, diabetes advocate powerhouse, Moira McCarthy went to her many friends online (and I am sure offline also) and raised a good deal of money for the JDRF Ride held recently. And she was by no means alone and they do the same thing and it raises millions of dollars, nothing to sneeze at by any means. The power of social media helped that recent event and many other events that JDRF and the ADA organize with large numbers of people. Those are events you can both participate and get behind. If someone is doing something and sends you a link; pass it along with a personal note from you.
And if it is something ‘new’ you are looking for, that no one else is doing that is just an idea that an individual does on their own, well Thirteen-year-old Jonathan Berman launched an incredible initiative at the Children with Diabetes Conference this year in early July. His idea, give a dollar, JUST ONE DOLLAR, to help find a cure for diabetes. Jonathan’s Power of One has raised over $3,000 thus far to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. Stand behind that; share that idea.
And here is one that happens every year that I bet you did not know existed. Instead of buying a dozen roses, you buy 11 and the price of the twelfth one is donated to the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child to help children who cannot even afford insulin. Share that idea around Valentine’s day; stand behind that idea.
And there surely are more.
What all of these ideas need……is just a large number of people to stand behind them. And that IS the us, the diabetes community.
So before one thinks that there is nothing out there and ‘why doesn’t the diabetes’ community get behind something—-I say, THEY ARE OUT THERE. Support them. Some have been here already, some are the idea of a child, some are just as unique as an ice bucket.
The lesson here is that if this community, the diabetes community, chooses to stand behind something and give it the push needed—-THAT IDEA WILL BECOME THE NEXT ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE.
I say you do not even have to look beyond your (our) own backyard. Dumping a bucket of water on someone is surely not new. What was new is that a group of people got behind that bucket of water and gave it the push needed.
Give something the push needed.
That is my challenge to you…..and you do not even have to get wet doing it.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.