News

Ice bucket challenge gave me a warm glow

As Ice Bucket Challenge gathers steam, our reporter Melody Ng gives it a go

The warm glow that came after being dunked with ice-cold water was worth it.

It all started with a little red notification pop-up on my Facebook page: Paul has tagged you in a video.

I clicked on the page and gasped at the 40-second clip of my friend dousing himself in ice water.

The video was his attempt at the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Those who take the Ice Bucket Challenge can "tag" their friends and dare them to be drenched in ice-cold water and raise awareness for ALS.

Those who chicken out are encouraged to donate $100 to the ALS association.

So, curious, I went on online to find out more about the disease.

ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain.

Sufferers may lose control over functions such as speech, swallowing and breathing. It can affect anyone and there is no cure.

I learnt that famed scientist Stephen Hawking has motor neuron disease, which comes under ALS.

Although Singapore does not have an ALS association, there are support groups for people affected by motor neuron diseases.

The Motor Neuron Disease Support Group, under the care of the Department of Neurology at the National Neuroscience Institute, holds regular support meetings for sufferers.

While I was learning about the disease, the charity-driven challenge caught on like wildfire on the Internet.

Politicians, celebrities, sports stars - everyone has had a go at the dare.

Some, like local actress Rebecca Lim, donated to other good causes.

As of Aug 21, the ALS Association website said it has received nearly US$42 million (S$52 million) in donations compared to $2.1 million during the same period last year (July 29 to Aug 21).

I knew I had to do it too. But I got - pardon the pun - cold feet.

Remember the cinnamon challenge where you swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything?

I ended up with ulcers at the back of my throat for a week. But the fact that it was for a good cause overrode my concerns.

Leading up to my attempt, I had to spend quite a bit of time that morning choosing what to wear for the video.

I mean, it has to be camera-appropriate and it cannot look like a bad wet T-shirt attempt.

As the hours passed, it finally came time to get my afternoon "shower".

ANXIOUS

I felt fearful and anxious as I looked on at my friends shovelling ice cubes into the pail till it was half-full. Then they topped it up with water.

I thought to myself: This is how I am going to experience hypothermia.

Oh, how I wanted out the moment the camera started rolling!

So as I was splashed what seemed like arctic temperature water on my back, I couldn't help but swear.

Yes, it was not attractive of a lady to do that on camera, but it was THAT cold.

But if you are looking to hear me cuss like a sailor in the video, I am sorry to disappoint, the final video was of a different take.

I had to do the challenge four times before we got a "clean" take.

But after everything was done, I have to admit I felt contented for doing my part in helping the community by both entertaining readers (hopefully) and also doing my bit for the cause.

In the video, I tagged all TNP readers and I hope everyone will give this a go. Support the community and have fun doing it.

What's there to lose?

So icy she could not breathe

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/REBECCA LIM

Local actress Rebecca Lim, 27, posted on her Facebook fanpage on Monday that she would give 10 cents per "like" on her Facebook post from the time she posted it till she executed the dare.

By the time she posted the clip of herself getting dunked on her Instagram account on Tuesday, she had raised $1,310, which she is giving to the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS).

She told The New Paper yesterday: "The SCS is a society I feel strongly for as I have relatives who have cancer. The society provides financial help to those who can't afford treatment and I think what they are doing is great."

On how she felt during the challenge, she said that she is "generally a person who is very afraid of the cold". "Sometimes, I'll even walk around at home with a jacket. But I believed in raising awareness for the cause and felt that it was good."

She described the moment of the ice water being poured on her as "being in the winter, without a jacket, and being blown by a sudden gush of cold wind".

She said she could not breathe for a few seconds when the ice water was being poured on her.

The challenge, done at home, was filmed by her father while her mother dumped the ice water on her.

SUPPORTIVE

Lim said: "I initially wanted to maintain a certain image but it did not turn out as expected. My mother was very supportive. She cracked the ice cubes and kept adding more, saying that if I wanted to do it, I should go all the way."

Her mother had even washed three pails the night before and asked her in the morning which one she wanted.

Lim said: "The challenge has a great objective. It has been successful in getting people talking."

Rebecca tagged actor Ian Fang, actor-host Utt and actress-host Priscelia Chan.

Blogger Bagaholicboy, Alvin Cher, also offered to match Lim's donation to the SCS.


Other celebrities both local and international have also put out videos of themselves being dunked with ice-cold water.

ACTOR-HOST GEORGE YOUNG

He was tagged by Taiwanese-American television personality Janet Hsieh and JimmyT.

He did the challenge on a field.

After dousing himself in ice water, he gasped: "It's cold, it's cold. Anyone got a towel?"

He tagged actress Irene Ang, YouTuber Dee Kosh and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

JADE SEAH

The Singaporean model, host and actress went back to her alma mater, Tanjong Katong Girls' School, to do the challenge.

After getting the help of two students to dump ice water on her in slow motion, she encouraged viewers to donate to the cause and said soon after: "I cannot talk!"

Seah tagged Desmond Tan, Ann Kok and Singaporean YouTubers Tree Potatoes.

FANDI AHMAD

Singapore's favourite football son and coach of the LionXII also got into the act.

The challenge was laid down by his son Ikhsan, who screamed after dunking himself.

Posted on the official Instagram account of LionsXII, Fandi braved the ice water kneeling on grass with his eyes closed.

BILL GATES

The co-founder of Microsoft filmed himself welding a mechanism that eventually poured the ice water onto himself.

The minute-and-a-half clip of him barely flinching got over 11 million views and counting.

OPRAH WINFREY

The talk show host and media mogul had the help of her best friend Gayle King in doing the challenge complete with a side-splitting hilarious reaction.

She tagged Steven Spielberg in her video.

DAVID BECKHAM

The former footballer had a large container poured over him as he did his challenge shirtless - to the delight of his fans.

He tagged Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Challenge co-founder drowns

Mr Corey Griffin.

The co-founder of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Mr Corey Griffin, died after drowning in a diving accident on Aug 16.

The 27-year-old died at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in Massachusetts, after jumping from the roof of a two-storey building into Nantucket Harbor, according to police spokesman Carlos Moreira.

No other details were provided, the Washington Post reported.

Mr Griffin, a former Bain Capital manager, has raised a huge amount of money for the ALS Association through the challenge.

Mr Griffin's friend and family spokesman Michael Greeley said he suffered two crushed vertebrae in the accident.

"This is a kid who went from having a big smile on his face to being dead instantly," Mr Greeley said in a telephone interview on Monday.

Diving off the building on Straight Wharf is "a rite of passage" on the island, said Ms Tiffany Lee, a bartender a local restaurant.

ALSice bucket challenge