Macmillan Cancer accused of 'hijacking' the ice bucket challenge

The charity has so far raised at least £250,000, but has been accused of "stealing the spotlight" from the ALS Association

Macmillan Cancer Support has come under fire for using the #IceBucketChallenge to help raise funds for its own charity.

The organic and unplanned campaign has swept across the internet in the last few weeks, tasking its participants with enduring a bucket of freezing water poured on their heads.

One of the earlier people to do it, a golfer named Chris Kennedy, was the first to bring the ALS Association into the mix as his wife’s cousin suffers from it.

This simple dare led to thousands of subsequent people also using the ALS term (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neurone disease, as commonly known in the UK) and has raised $62.5million (£37.7million) for the US association, as well as £250,000 for its UK equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

 

It has also led to eminent public figures carrying out the challenge and nominating others, including Bill Gates, David Beckham, Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah Winfrey.

However, though some people used the challenge to promote or donate to their own favoured charities, one particular organisation has been accused of “hijacking” it for its own means

Video: Celebrities take on the ice bucket challenge  

As the challenge’s popularity skyrocketed, Macmillan asked people to do the Ice Bucket Challenge before filming it, posting it online and then donating £3 to its cause “by sending ICE to 70550”. (The Motor Neurone Disease Association can also be donated to by texting ICED55 £5 - or any amount - to 70070).

It has reportedly received donations over £250,000 – enough to fund six Macmillan nurses – as a result of the challenge, according to Civil Society.

A number of people, including current Macmillan supporters, have criticised the charity for jumping on the bandwagon and “taking away the awareness” of ALS.

“Really unimpressed that you hijacked the ice bucket challenge from mnda [Motor Neurone Disease Association] in the UK. They need awareness far more than you,” one said on Twitter.

There have also been calls for Macmillan to “let someone else have their day” and to “get [their] own fundraising ideas”.

One Facebook user told the charity: “I’m really dissapointed [sic] in your charity, I pay a monthly donation to what is I believe a good cause, helping people suffering with cancer, but im seriously considering withdrawing my donation and changing it to MND/AlS because of your taking away their awareness.”

READ MORE: The highs and lows of the ice bucket challenge
Firemen electrocuted while taking part in ice bucket challenge
Patrick Stewart shows how the challenge should be done

While another wrote: “Why couldn't you just let ALS have their chance to raise funds? Why did you have to steal the idea from a charity which doesn't have the profile that you have? Why not let the little guys have a chance? Why not think of your own idea?”

A spokesperson from the MNDA has also reportedly condemned the move.

“Of course we’re both trying to fund cures for diseases, but we’re much smaller. We’d rather a big charity didn’t come swooping in and take our funding away. We don’t have the resources that they do,” an insider said, according to The Times.

Others have leapt to the defence of Macmillan, arguing that many people are doing it for different types of charities not just ALS, with one person saying: “It’s NOT a competition between 2 charities, donate to both or the one that your heart and head says”.

Macmillan posted an explainer on its website on Thursday, detailing and defending to some extent its decision to utilise the challenge for itself.

Head of Digital, Amanda Neylon, said that it was trying to be more responsive to social trends after failing to exploit #NoMakeupSelfie earlier this year, which ended up raising £8million for Cancer Research within six days.

“We’re trying to be bolder, we’re listening to what’s going on all over the world, and we’re responding more quickly than we have in the past. We’re trying new things so that we can keep moving forward as an organisation,” she added in the blog post.

Ms Neylon said the team were delighted people were fundraising and that they had noticed as far back as July that people were doing the #IceBucketChallenge for Macmillan as well as other charities. But seeing as nobody owns the campaign, they were able to use it themselves.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Developer - Xamarin

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Student Support Assistants - Part Time & Full Time

£14600 - £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are passionate about sup...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore