Macmillan Cancer said to have ‘hijacked’ the Ice Bucket Challenge


Macmillan Cancer Support has been criticised for using the Ice Bucket Challenge to help in raising funds for its own organisation.

The unplanned campaign, which challenges participants to endure a bucket of freezing water being poured on their heads, has taken the world by storm.

One of the first people to take on the challenge, a golfer by the name of Chris Kennedy, brought the ALS Association into it because his wife’s cousin is a sufferer. The dare led to thousands of people from all over the world also using the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease) term. An amount of $62.5m has been raised for the US association and its UK equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), has raised £250000.

The dare also led to numerous celebrities and public figures accepting the challenge and nominating others to do so.

However, although some of the people used the challenge for promotional purposes or to donate to their chosen charities, one organisation has been accused of using it for their own purposes.

At the height of the challenge, Macmillan requested that people do the Ice Bucket Challenge prior to filming it, posting it online and donating an amount of £3 to its charity ‘by texting ICE to 70550’. The Motor Neurone Disease Association has a similar request by texting ICED55 for £5 or any other amount to 70070.

According to Civil Society, Macmillan has received donations in excess of £250000 which is sufficient to fund six nurses.

The organisation has received criticism for jumping on the bandwagon and taking away the spotlight from ALS. There have been several calls to Macmillan to allow some other charity to have their day and to initiate their own fundraising ideas.

A spokesperson from the MNDA has also condemned Macmillan’s actions by stating that both organisations are trying to fund disease cures, but their organisation is much smaller, so they would prefer that a big charity does not come swooping in and take their potential funding away. The spokesperson claimed that they do not have the same level of resources as Macmillan.

Defenders of the Macmillan challenge argue that people are choosing different charities, not only ALS. They have stated that this is not a contest between charities as one can donate to both or to one that is close to your heart.

Macmillan has defended itself by stating that it was attempting to be more responsive to current social trends after they failed to take advantage of #NoMakeupSelfie earlier during this year, which resulted in donations of £8m for Cancer Research over a period of six days.

Ms Neylon, the head of Digital, said their team had realised that people were undertaking the Ice Bucket Challenge during July, for Macmillan and other charities. She stated that since no-one owns the campaign, they could use it for their own purposes.

Image Credit: Anthony Quintano


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Emma Brown

Emma graduated in 2005 from the University of York with a degree in English Literature. A huge passion for writing and health topics, Emma is a perfect match for Health News UK. Hobbies include; cooking, writing (of course), musicals and her 2 dogs.

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