The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was, plain and simple, a huge success. It was booming on various social media platforms, with millions of posts on Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Facebook. Not only has it raised more than $100 million for ALS, the progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, but it has also heightened awareness for a disease that many Americans knew little about. It was amazing to see the awareness that was spread worldwide. As a person living with a chronic illness, I found myself in happy tears, as it amazed me that those suffering from ALS finally got their voices heard.
This was inspiring. It made me think of ways how we could get the voices of those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis heard as well. However, I knew it would be wrong and ignorant of me to try and take the spotlight away from those with ALS. So I waited and during this time I brainstormed ideas along with Randy Patrick, the founder of Must Stop MS. We decided on Tuesday October 14th, it was time. We began our #StopDropSelfieForMS campaign!
What is it? What is the point of it? What is our strategy behind this campaign? What are our goals and how will we get to them? The Stop Drop and Take a Selfie for MS campaign is to get the world aware of Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, which 2.5 million people suffer from on a daily basis. It is a chronic illness, meaning there is no cure, and it’s also known as an invisible disease – one you cannot see. I may look good, but I don’t feel good.
The point is to get every one involved. We want every one to ‘Stop, Drop and Take a Selfie for MS’ and post it on their social medias! Nominating others and including the hashtag is crucial for this campaign to be successful, as was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We do not only want those affected to get involved – but even those who know nothing about MS.
We thought a Selfie campaign would be the easiest and fastest way to get others involved. People take selfies every day. Whether its at the gym, in your washroom, a girls night out or a family dinner – you take selfies and why not post one for a good cause and raise MS awareness?
There are about 1000 pictures up on Instagram already, and not to mention the hundreds that are spreading on Twitter and Facebook. Even if President Obama, Kim Kardashian or Ellen don’t take part in it, to Randy and myself, a difference is still made.
Without Social Media, none of this would be achievable. Social Media has allowed for ‘voices’ to be heard, regardless of geographic location or time. This campaign started in Toronto, Ontario and it has been found across the world in countries like Ukraine, United Kingdom, Australia and more. Social Media gave us the benefit of connecting with one another, and we hope that the hashtag #StopDropSelfieForMS can connect and bring us all together to help end Multiple Sclerosis.