A while back, I was part of a panel on HuffPost Live that revolved around a post I wrote called, "Gagging on Pink Ribbons." In my post, I basically expressed how I feel very hesitant and wary when it comes to witnessing the raising of money for charities that sell a big pop culture story and do very little for the actual human beings the charities are supposed to be serving.
I'm not a rebel or a conspiracy theorist -- I'm not even someone who wants to get involved. What I am is experienced -- I know what it's like to watch millions of research and charity dollars fly over my head and into the hands of those who claimed they were accepting all that loot on my behalf -- yet they never coughed up a dime to help me when I needed them most.
Disease research is about the future, and while the desire to promote a hopeful future is indeed a noble cause, most of what goes on is a pop trend. The ribbon trends, the ice bucket trend... while it's good to raise awareness, let's not forget that the people we're trying to help need us now, not after their disease has taken away everything they have.
If you really want to be charitable, help someone who is alive right now. Give 100 percent of your donation to a real person, rather than a charity. We are human beings, not statistics. If you want to be noble and help humankind, then help a human being, directly. I'm not opposed to research and I'm not saying charity is wrong, I'm just saying there are more direct ways to help people, and some of these suffering souls cannot wait for the cure that will happen someday.
Do you want to help someone who is sick? Great! Here's my suggestion: After you dump that bucket of ice water on yourself and make that video that you automatically put up on all your favorite social media sites, take that $100 you didn't have to spend because you accepted the challenge and go visit someone with ALS, or cancer, or AIDS, or TN, MS, or MD, or arthritis, or brain damage, or depression or whatever -- go visit them and ask them how you may serve them to make their lives just a little better. While they may appreciate the ice water and the pink ribbon, they'll really appreciate having a meal prepared for them, or a few extra bucks for this or that - even a subscription to Netflix is a ray of light to the homebound person who could use a little entertainment. Don't worry about what the crowd is doing - help someone in the now.
Want to know my experience? Watch my video to see how I accept the ice bucket challenge.