Sean’s 2018 reinvigoration of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” in South Korea is enjoying even more success than its 2014 predecessor. However, Sean, who is the co-founder of the Korea Hope Foundation, has a larger goal in mind.
Since its viral ascent in 2014, the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which started in the U.S. but has since gone global, has evolved into an event that is synonymous with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). Although the “Ice Bucket Challenge” is well known throughout the world, only in Korea is the challenge actively taking place as of 2018.
This year’s round of challengers and donators started with a man named Sean. In April Sean did the “Ice Bucket Challenge” with his longtime friend and former basketball player Park Seung-il by his side. Together the two established the Korean Hope Foundation (KHF). Park Seung-il in 2011.
Park was the youngest coach of the Korean professional basketball league, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease at a hospital he visited in April 2002 due to his physical discomfort. Due to Park’s condition, ALS has been an important the organization’s founders. As a result, many celebrities are choosing to send their ALS associated donations to the foundation.
Explaining why he decided to do so, Sean said that he “wanted to revive the fun influence of the ice bucket challenge, where on person nominates three other people.” Doing a bit of calculation, Sean said that around 85,873 people participate every ten days or so through the challenge. With those numbers, the Ice Bucket challenge greatly increased donations and helped to educate people about ALS.
However, Sean saw the campaign shrink rapidly in Korea since 2014. As that time, celebrities who helped to broadcast the challenge and its mission grew increasingly intimidated by criticism. People commented that they were participating for their own benefit and used it as a way to board personal connections with others.
While a good idea, many participants chose to donate rather than upturn a bucket of ice-water on their heads. As such, the campaign ended due to a lack of nominations from challengers. “In 2014, we [couldn’t] name the next three people if we didn’t do the challenge,” Sean explained.
However, it seems that the 2018 campaign has avoided the pitfalls that plagued it four years ago. With a little over two weeks since the challenge began, it has already surpassed the fever of 2014. Already top singers, actors, comedians, and others have participated.
Speaking about the difference between the current and past Ice Bucket Challenge, Sean said that it has matured. “I feel (that it is) much more mature than in 2014…most of the participants make donations even when they do the challenge,” Sean explained. Moreover, with this year’s round of nominations and buckets of ice water, it appears that participants are more clear about the meaning, significance, and rules of the event.
Furthermore, in addition to doing the challenge and making donations, many celebrities are also taking the time to write out meaningful notes that they share on social media regarding ALS. With these extra steps, Sean said that it is helping to spread beyond celebrities and to the general public who are finding ways to get involved. Fans of Park Bogum, for example, donated over 6,000 won to the Korea Hope Foundation in celebration of the actor’s birthday.
From when the foundation was established in 2011 until last year, the Korea Hope Foundation raised 4 billion won (3,621,400 USD), with 1 billion coming from Ice Bucket donations alone. With these donations, Sean says that the Korea Hope Foundation aims to establish the country’s first Lou Gehrig’s nursing home. In particular, this goal goes back to Sean’s friendship with Park Seung-il. When Sean discovered that Park has ALS, he promised to help establish this nursing home.
“When Lou Gehrig’s nursing clinic is established, families can trust the care of hospitals and take care of patients,” Sean said. Further, “Lou Gehrig’s disease can last as long as five years…The reason why Seung-il has been able to go through 16 years is that he was desperate to build a nursing home for Lou Gehrig’s disease. I think it’s becoming possible with the ice bucket challenge. I would like to express my deep gratitude to all those who participated.”
Translated by O.C
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