Ice Bucket Challenge Hijacked by Macmillan Cancer Support

ice bucket challenge

The ALS ice bucket challenge has been hijacked by the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. At least, that is something that many people are complaining about. The question is whether this is something that is acceptable or not.

Over the last three weeks, social media feeds have been full of people throwing ice water over their heads. Some big names have joined in with the fun, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake and Selena Gomez. Other big names have done their own versions of the challenge, including the likes of Charlie Sheen and Miley Cyrus.

The challenge started by those raising money for the ALS Association and has been successful in raising $13.3 million over the last three weeks. This is an increase from $1.7 million from the same period last year.

A number of other charities claimed to be the ones that started the ice bucket challenge, but it was clear that ALS had something to do with it. When someone throws the water over their heads, their bodies go into a temporary state of shock. They struggle to move their muscles and some find it difficult to breathe. This mimics the symptoms that those suffering from the debilitating disease struggle with on a daily base.

Now the ice bucket challenge has been hijacked by Macmillian Cancer Support, a UK-based charity. Some of the negativity has come from the fact that the cancer charity is laying some claim to creating the challenge by not acknowledging that it was all started by the ALS Association on its website.

However, according to reports from Macmillian, the challenge was not even started by ALSA. Once it reached the United States, people started donating to that particular charity. However, it originally started in New Zealand. There has been no confirmation of who did start this in New Zealand or whether the cancer charity has been mistaken.

The question is whether there should be a problem with other charities using the challenge to help raise money. Either way, the money is going to a good cause and it is raising awareness for so much. Some people will have their favorite charities anyway and will choose to donate to those over the ones that others are telling them to donate to.

Macmillan Cancer Support is not the first to use the ice bucket challenge to raise money anyway. Of course, just because others have taken the challenge and used it for their own gain does not mean Macmillan should too. It almost brings about a sense of competition between the different non-profit organizations.

The truth is that these challenges are not copyrighted or protected by law. Anybody can use them in a way that they see fit. Throwing a bucket of ice water over someone’s head is not exactly a new thing, either. People have possibly done it in the past but social media has just helped it go viral much easier and quicker than ever before. However, does that still make it acceptable that Macmillan Cancer Support seems to have hijacked the ice bucket challenge?

Opinion by Alexandria Ingham


Macmillian Cancer Support

Third Sector

16 Responses to "Ice Bucket Challenge Hijacked by Macmillan Cancer Support"

  1. Trish Mann   August 29, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Actually this started in 2013 to raise money for cancer as the ice mimics the effects of chemo. So who hijacked what!

  2. niki   August 27, 2014 at 4:45 am

    This started in New Zealand in support of the Child Cancer Foundation.

  3. tara   August 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I had friends doing this late may in new zealand for cancer. Usa too slow again. And australia trying to claim yet another kiwi idea.

  4. Gem   August 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    It was definitely in New Zealand last year, dunno if it started here or not. Then no one did it for ages and it’s only recently came back not for ALS

    • Gem   August 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      I meant for ALS

  5. campaigns:worth:sharing   August 24, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Alexandra, Macmillan did not claim to start this challenge, as this article claims in error.

    • Alexandria Ingham   August 29, 2014 at 3:22 am

      I never said that Macmillan claimed to start the challenge, but that it appears to lay some claim by not acknowledging where it got the idea from. Also the Macmillan website has been updated since the writing of this article.

  6. k   August 24, 2014 at 3:05 am

    It doesn’t matter where it started but this current appeal is for ALS to raise awareness so a more well known charity should not try and take away from that.

  7. Bec   August 24, 2014 at 12:51 am

    I’m in Australia and heard of this some months ago. Then it was for cancer, not ALS. It said the ice water simulated the chemo experience.

  8. Robert Campbell   August 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Judy/Moira,as I pointed out. It more likely started in Australia last year. That was when I first saw it, come up on my facebook. any reports it started in 2014 are just utter rubbish im sorry to say. It certainly wasn’t started for charity.

  9. Robert Campbell   August 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    The point is a lot of people already know about cancer. There are cures for cancer and ways of fighting it. There isn’t a cure for ALS or MND it’s a death sentence. Macmillan have been very unethical over this. It started in 2013 in Australia after the whole NekNominate phase died down,and was something between friends. The first charity one I heard of was for ALS in March. It’s also disappointing,that Macmillan have paid facedbook to advertise them this week as part of the challenge to ensure they appear on news feeds. It’s extremely dubious grounds to stand on.
    I’m all for individuals supporting a charity that affects them,but for a charity to pay for advertising on social media over it to try and receive donations and stop a lesser known charity receiving publicity and donations is extremely dissappointing.

  10. anita   August 22, 2014 at 8:06 am

    I was challenged by a friend in Hawaii on the 29th of June 2014 and I completed it on the 30th of June 2014 and it was in support of the cancer foundation so it wasn’t als that created it at all. I think that you should be able to donate to whatever charity you want to and it shouldn’t be about who started this or who started that at the end of the day it is bringing awareness to a lot of medical conditions and helping find a cure for everyone.

  11. chris   August 21, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    who cares where it started? If it can help one human with any awful disease then no one needs or should expect credit. This video alone should make every person thankful that they are not afflicted with ALS or Cancer.

  12. Judy   August 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    The Ice challenge started in New Zealand in June and swept Australia in July it was to support the Cancer charities. The feeling patients receive during chemotherapy has been likened to taking an ice bath.

    “This is meant to symbolise the shock your body gets when you have chemo.

    So America you are the ones who have copied.

  13. moira Bryce   August 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I can tell you that the ice challenge started in New Zealand months ago in June, and yes it was initially to support Cancer charities not the one that is sweeping America currently.


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