Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

George Bush accepts Rory McIlroy's ice bucket challenge

George W Bush has reluctantly taken part in the ALS ice bucket challenge - having been nominated by Rory McIlroy.

Perhaps he had run out of paint for those nude self-portraits he so loves to create and needed another diversion, but regardless the video results are pretty spectacular.

The challenge is the latest charity craze to take the internet by storm, with people pouring iced water over their heads in a bid to raise money for charity.

Golfers McIlroy and Tiger Woods did it together, taking it in turns to drench one another before the Northern Irishman nominated the former US president, along with Wayne Rooney.

Bush first declines the offer and begins writing out a cheque for charity.

“I do not think it’s presidential for me to be splashed with ice water, so I’m simply going to write you a cheque,” he says in the film, before his wife, Laura Bush, gleefully ‘surprises’ him by emptying a bucket of ice water over his head.

“That cheque is for me,” she says, in an unnervingly sinister tone. “I don’t want to ruin my hairstyle.”

The whole thing is almost definitely a pre-organised stunt, but Bush’s ‘willingness’ to be embarrassed for charity is indeed commendable. As is his nomination choice – Bill Clinton.

“It’s my privilege to challenge my friend, Bill Clinton, to the ALS challenge,” said Bush. “Yesterday (19 August) was Bill’s birthday, so my gift to Bill is a bucket of cold water.”

Bush joins a plethora of high-profile names to have accepted the challenge, including Oprah, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber (who had to do it twice because he got it wrong the first time, obviously) and Charlie Sheen.

Not many have publicly declined participating, with exceptions of Barack Obama (who has a bit more to lose than game Bush) and Vladimir Putin, who was expectedly unenthusiastic, despite his alleged fondness of cold baths.

His spokesperson said on Tuesday: “We've had other things on our agenda.”

The trend has raised thousands of pounds for cancer and motor neurone disease charities.

Macmillan Cancer Support said 85,000 people have donated so far and about £250,000 has been raised, and while the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association was not able to give a figure at this stage they said they had received "a lot" of donations overnight and the total so far is believed to be in the thousands.

Meanwhile, in the US, the ALS Association - a motor neurone disease charity network - said it had received 22.9 million US dollars (£13.8 million) in donations compared to 1.9 million US dollars (£1.1m) during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19).

A giggling Simon Cowell appeared to be on a boat in a sunny destination when he did the deed, and through his giggles he nominated X Factor judges Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Louis Walsh and Mel B.

Other big names to have stepped up to the challenge include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Britney Spears.

Also enduring the shiver-inducing splash were models Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse, while Good Morning Britain hosts Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard got drenched live on air.

Sally Light, chief executive of the MND Association, said the craze was an "unprecedented opportunity to raise awareness of what is a devastating terminal disease".

She added: "We care for thousands of people affected by MND across England, Wales and Northern Ireland but we also fund global research.

"The amazing sums of money being donated across the world and with sister organisations in the USA and Australia too will go a long way towards finding out more about the disease for which there is no current cure."

To take part, people need to have their experience filmed and then share it via sites such as Facebook and Twitter, challenging others to do it within 24 hours, before donating money to charity by text message.

You can donate £3 to Macmillan by sending ICE to 70550, and text ICED55 followed by an amount (such as £5) to 70070 to donate to the MNDA.

Macmillan said forfeiters can instead text FINE to 70550, donating £10 to give the icy dousing a miss.

The craze is similar to the "no makeup selfie" campaign earlier this year in which women posting bare-faced selfies online helped Cancer Research UK raise more than £8 million.

Further reading:

Stars chilling out for charity 

Ice bucket challenge: Eamonn Holmes drenches wife Ruth Langsford  

We're happy to grin and bear it for a worthy cause 

Video: Rory McIlroy on Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon with Tiger Woods 

'Cold water challenge': Latest Facebook dare craze claims life of German dad 

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