st. jude

Thousands Take the Ice-bucket Challenge for Good

While some like Brian Carney have written dissents regarding the forced altruism behind the viral “Ice-bucket Challenge,” one has to admit that this frenzied fad has made waves.

The ALS Association’s Ice-bucket Challenge has reached millions of viewers as thousands have participated, uploaded videos, and made donations to charity. Celebrities, presidents, school teachers, and even billionaires have been peer pressured into being silly for what will hopefully make a make long-term impact against a debilitating disease.

It’s no doubt that the ALS Association has benefited with a record-breaking $51.3 million raised, largely due to this campaign, in addition to the aided awareness.

What’s personally fascinating is the vast reach of young to old, rich to poor, popular to unknown…this social media tactic ignited a visible movement. People have openly expressed their support, financially contributed, had fun, and involved others. That’s exactly what nonprofits and many businesses strive for when engaging audiences.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (my employer) had a viral success earlier this year thanks to Ellen DeGeneres’ star-studded selfie that was retweeted by millions. The children’s hospital received more than $1 million along with millions of mentions because of a charitable social media push.

Although many folks challenged themselves and others for sport, I am glad to see strangers cheerfully uniting online for good causes. It sure beats the daily vitriol and mindless BuzzFeed posts that typically fill my newsfeed.

With that being said, bottom’s up:

“Let Me Take a Selfie” and Change the World

Selfies are en vogue. People pose for them during their morning commute, while traveling alone, and especially when clubbin’ (thus inspiring this spring’s hit song).

I’ve personally jumped on the bandwagon by recently capturing my brother and his new wife’s first moment as a married couple. The second after they were deemed official, it was selfie time.

Ellen DeGeneres‘ star-laden candid was the most retweeted tweet ever. While that selfie’s record is Oscar-worthy, its generous impact meant more. Yes, a tweet that was circulated more than 34 million times resulted in millions donated to charity including $1.5MM to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. (Disclosure: St. Jude is my employer.)

Yet this week, it was time to one-up Ellen.

One of my favorite parts of the job is giving people tours of St. Jude, especially first-timers. On Monday, we hosted professionals, streamers, and influencers from the highest echelons of the virtual gaming world to help launch a streaming-fundraising platform for St. Jude: Play Live.

Because my group was so enthusiastic and light-hearted, I sporadically wanted to remember our fun time together. While I asked others to post the pic, they said, “Go for it,” and they’d join the effort. And did they ever?!

113 favorites and 26 retweets resulted because of their audiences. Small potatoes to Ellen, St. Jude, and them personally, but astonishing for a commoner like me.

However, my point isn’t to selfishly talk about a silly selfie. It’s the heart and generosity of others. These celebs, social media juggernauts, and gaming royals chose to help St. Jude and spread the cause to their followers. (My group alone had a collective 450,000.)

It wasn’t blasé self-promotion. It wasn’t calculated. It was their spur-of-the-moment, genuine desire to help others.

And that’s pretty rad if you ask me.

*We tried to take a proper, arm-showing selfie but a Baby Boomer interrupted us and just grabbed my phone. Pictured are Johnathan, Max, Aureylian, Panser, Ducksauce, Ms Vixen, MC, Renée, Noah, and Sarah.

P.S. Watch for super-cool stuff from #PlayLive and Twitch streamers next month.

Take 5: Hayley Isaac

Hayley Isaac

Hayley goes for gold everyday. 

Meet a half-Venezuelan, Midtown chick who binges on the Olympics and works full time sending snail mail.

Stage Name: Hayley Isaac

Friends call her: Smart and silly

Starring Roles: Sr. Specialist for ALSAC/St. Jude; formerly the Associate Director for the CBU MBA program

Daily script: Developing the strategy behind one-time mail donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Like free labels? Give her a call.

Good gig? “I know what and who I come to work for everyday: the kids.”

Behind the Scenes at St. Jude: “All I can think about is the number of children that will be saved because of the new proton beam. It’s overwhelming.”

Hometown Reminder: “Proud Mary”

To improve Memphis, Hayley would focus on transportation. “We need something that better connects the burbs to the city.”

If at the Olympics…“I’d be cheering for Lolo Jones,” (the track star turned bob sledder). “She’s made a huge jump!”

Favorites to Follow? @MakeMemphis, @AmuricaPhoto, and @SochiProblems