Would you take an icy-cold shower for a good cause? Two women get doused during the ice bucket challenge at Boston's Copley Square to raise funds and awareness for the disease called ALS (- AP photos)
Would you take an icy-cold shower for a good cause?

The idea is simple: Take a bucket of ice water, dump it over your head, record it and post the video on social media.

It's cold, it's fun and it's contagious. But these ice bucket challenges and similar stunts are raising awareness and money for causes such as Lou Gehrig's disease, breast cancer and a camp for kids who have lost their fathers to war.

Martha Stewart has been doused. So has Matt Lauer. And pro golfer Greg Norman.

The phenomenon to raise funds asks those willing to douse themselves to challenge others to do the same within 24 hours. If they don't, they must make a donation to a certain charity. Each person who participates nominates more friends, who nominate more friends, who nominate still more friends.

The movement has taken the Boston area by storm. Friends and relatives of former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates used it to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig's disease. Frates was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease, also known as ALS, in 2012. Frates, 29, is now paralyzed, eats through a feeding tube and cannot talk.

On Thursday, his parents, Nancy and John Frates, joined 200 people who doused themselves in Copley Square. The couple said the ice bucket challenge has done more to increase understanding about ALS than anything they've done over the past two years.

"Who knew all it would take was a bag of ice and a bucket?" John Frates told the crowd. That was just before participants poured 9-quart buckets of ice water over their heads.

Similar challenges have attracted athletes, politicians, doctors, accountants and construction workers. They can take all sorts of forms: There are no-makeup selfies to raise money for cancer causes and cold-water plunges for kids' camps.

Lauer got soaked with ice water last month after Norman challenged him and ended up kicking in some cash for the Hospice of Palm Beach County, in Florida.

Operation 300 is a foundation in Stewart, Florida, that hosts a camp for kids who lost their fathers to war. The foundation gets support from local firefighters, one of whom decided to put his money where his mouth was: Pay $50 and avoid the icy dousing or get wet and pay $20.

Since the spring, the foundation has raised about $15,000 from the ice water challenge.

There can be dangers. Authorities in Camden Township, Minnesota, said 16-year-old Davis Colley drowned in May when he jumped in a lake as part of a challenge, and in some states, police warned parents and kids to avoid jumping into frigid or fast-moving waters.

Critical thinking challenge: Why do crazy stunts like these motivate people to contribute to charities?

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  • Elizabeth1992
    8/22/2014 - 08:24 a.m.

    The Ice bucket is a great way to raise money for those who have Lou Gehrig's Disease. It is also a great way to show the awareness of this disease. If you look at it, it isn't really that crazy, it would be a great way to beat the heat and raise money as well. I would do it if I could.

  • TeddyM.
    8/22/2014 - 08:29 a.m.

    This really is a good cause.Like it says it is fun and willingly good.I like the fact that we do this not just for the sake and fun of us, but for organizations for charities to help the peple that need it.I dont really like how it spreads there are people that always get chose and get tired of it but that is just them.

  • brandon1699
    8/22/2014 - 08:30 a.m.

    I think it's great that alot of people are are pooring ice water on there head just to raise some money for a sick person in the hospital. Everbody who is doing this inspiring my i am going to go home and do it this afternoon. When it comes to this world alot of people do really nice things for each other like i read this thing about this girl (Liz Hogan) she shaved her head for the kids who have cancer and she raised $21,000 dollars just for charity. It's kinda like when people fun for cancer theres always nice people somewhere on the planet

  • Damien1098
    8/22/2014 - 08:31 a.m.

    I think its cool that people are doing this. I'm lucky i dont have any friends because i dont feel like throwing ice water on my head. But it is for a good cause though and its so kewl everyones doing it. It pretty much became a trend because of YouTubers. I just might do it because i'm not gonna get nominated so ill just do it for fun and not yell at people for nominating me.

  • devinp
    8/22/2014 - 08:32 a.m.

    to give money to charity.Its fun to do and you get to pour water on yourself for a good uses.if u do you will have to pay.

  • JoseG5314
    8/22/2014 - 08:34 a.m.

    I would do this for people who are dealing with ALS I have been picked by friend to this.. This for a grate cause.

  • AustinA-Moo
    8/22/2014 - 12:15 p.m.

    I think that it is fun and that you do it for a cure makes it even more fun. That is super cool how they did that.

  • baileync45
    8/22/2014 - 01:02 p.m.

    I think it is because its a challenge and people like to do that stuff. also people want to raise awareness and the way that they can would be doing something crazy and getting other people to do it. The other opinion would be to donate money and some people do both but others just want to get the word out by doing something crazy and nominating others to do it as well.

  • Max2001
    8/22/2014 - 01:03 p.m.

    I think crazy stunts like this motivate people because they want to have fun contributing to charities and not just by giving the charities money.

  • aiyannah
    8/22/2014 - 01:05 p.m.

    It motivate them because it cathches their attention and it also passes on . Its actually kinda fun to do and it aslo gets a lot of money for the people that needs it . I tink its a great way to raise money over social media .