Muscat: A number of school students in Oman have joined others across the world in taking the 'ice bucket challenge', a social media campaign aimed at raising awareness and money for the treatment of a disease that causes the deterioration of the nerves and muscles in its victims.
The campaign has gone viral, as some of the most famous people in the world, from pop stars to senior politicians, having participated by having buckets of ice water poured over their heads and then posting the video online to support research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
ALS is a lethal disorder that attacks nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. According to the ALS Association, it occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
A group of friends studying at Indian School Al Ghubra decided to take the challenge when they learned about it through Facebook and other social media networks.
In the videos of themselves posted online, they also named three other people who would also take the challenge within 24 hours.
Bucket of ice water
Those who are nominated for the 'ice bucket challenge' have the choice to either dump a bucket of ice water on their heads or donate $100 to ALS research. Many do both.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Kabir Moosa Khan, a class nine student at Indian School Ghubra, said he was logged into Facebook and learned about the fundraiser when he was nominated by a friend to accept the challenge.
"I did it in our home's bathroom and my sister filmed me when I was doing it. It was really cold and I became totally wet. But I enjoyed it," he said, adding that some of his friends have already accepted the challenge and posted their videos online. Kabir also said he may consider donating money, as well, in the future. "I would like to challenge everybody in Oman to do it", he said.
His younger sister, Kareema, who studies at the same school, also had ice water poured on her, and challenged three of her friends.
"I know that it is to support ALS patients. I think people should know why they do it, if they want to do it," she said.
Don't give up
Ansh Chandna, another class nine student, also said he was nominated by a friend. "That is how I came to know about the challenge."
Voicing his support for people suffering from the disease, Ansh said, "My message to them is that they are no different from us normal people, and we all support them."
Aditya Kamath, who is studying in class nine at the same school, said he had seen celebrities taking the challenge on Internet and then was challenged by one of his friends to pour a bucket of cold water over his own head. "I felt cold. It was freezing," he said, adding that he posted the video on Instagram.
Asked if he would like to donate money, as well, he said, "I think so".
Aditya also had a message for those who are struggling with Lou Gehrig's disease. "I would just like to say, 'Do not give up. Keep fighting. God will help you all'."
As of Friday, August 22, the ALS Association had received $53.3 million in donations, compared to $2.2 million during the same period, July 29 to August 21, last year, the association reported on its website. These donations have come from existing donors, along with 1.1m new donors to the association. Thousands of people around the globe, including well-known figures such as former US President George W. Bush, have taken part in what has been called one of the most successful social media campaigns in history.
Caution: Children are advised not to take the challenge without their parents' permission and should avoid wasting water.