Money & Business

#VoiceYourLove: ALS Association Draws Tech-Industry Backing to Latest Campaign

By / Feb 13, 2019 (Paffy69/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

The ALS Association’s new fundraising campaign asks supporters to “voice your love” for ALS patients who can’t speak for themselves. Collaboration with the TRON Foundation is boosting the campaign’s transparency and extending its reach through a large tech community.

A very personal loss led Frank Bailinson, director of product management at the tech company BitTorrent, Inc.,  to the doorstep of The ALS Association.

Bailinson’s sister suffered from the disease. Her loss drove him to spearhead a collaboration between BitTorrent—along with its parent organization, the TRON Foundation, the company behind a decentralized blockchain protocol—and the association.

“When I presented the idea of using the 100 million-plus BitTorrent and TRON community to do an awareness and fundraising campaign, it received great internal support,” Bailinson said in a post this week on the BitTorrent blog. “I immediately reached out to The ALS Association in Washington, and over the next six months, we developed a close relationship that ended up by conceiving the VoiceYourLove concept.”

The #VoiceYourLove campaign, timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, seeks to raise awareness of the effects of the progressive neurodegenerative disease, focusing particularly on many ALS sufferers’ loss of the ability to speak. It challenges people to make and share short videos expressing their love for someone important to them. Several well-known celebrities, including Renée Zellweger and Courteney Cox, are taking part.

The TRON Foundation is supporting the campaign by providing transparency about where donations are distributed.  In a news release, Justin Sun, the founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent, noted that, considering the sheer scope of its network, it was inevitable that the disease has touched the lives of many of its users.

“The TRON and BitTorrent community has over 100 million people, and it’s statistically possible that thousands of you are afflicted with ALS,” said Sun, who is donating $250,000 to support ALS research.

“This campaign features some amazing people with ALS and their families,” ALS Association Executive Vice President of Communications Brian Frederick said in a release. “We are very grateful to TRON and BitTorrent for leveraging their resources and vast network in the blockchain industry to support our work to find a cure for ALS.”

The campaign returns to a hit formula from the association’s past: Users are encouraged to post videos with the #VoiceYourLove hashtag and to tag friends, challenging them to do the same and to donate. The strategy is similar of that used in the massively successful Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014.

“Our ask is simple—just get online and express your love for your loved ones and friends,” Frederick said.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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