This Parkinson's group gave the mannequin challenge real power by breaking its rules.
You remember the mannequin challenge, right?
It was the viral video meme that occupied our time in 2016 between mourning celebrity deaths and googling "Brexit." The premise of the challenge was to stage a scene in which participants held perfectly still while a camera moved around or through them and music (usually the song "Black Beatles") played in the background, creating a mannequin-like visual effect.
Much like the "Harlem Shake" and the ice bucket challenge, the videos became increasingly elaborate and high profile, with everyone from Hillary Clinton to the Dallas Cowboys jumping in on the action.
Of course, holding still for brief periods of time comes more easily to some people than to others.
Which is exactly the point of a new, and very clever, entry to the mannequin challenge.
It comes from Parkinson's NSW, an Australia-based support network for people who have Parkinson's disease. They used the mannequin challenge concept to shine a powerful light on the disease's symptoms and the everyday struggles people with it face.
Parkinson's disease is a nervous system disorder that affects movement and can create tremors in the body. They're small at first but over time can become debilitating — making common, daily tasks nearly impossible to complete.
Since the very premise of the mannequin challenge involves standing perfectly still, something many people with Parkinson's cannot do, the message of the video is clear. "Until there's a cure, life is our challenge," reads the title card at the end of the video.
There is currently no cure for Parkinson's, but scientists believe that finding one is possible through further research.
According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, there are currently 1 million Americans living with Parkinson's and approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Research is dependent on funding, and funding is dependent on support and awareness, so using a viral trend is a brilliant idea that might make a real difference.
The ice bucket challenge, silly though it may have seemed at the time, actually did help fund a real breakthrough in finding a cure for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease). Viral trends can be weird and seemingly meaningless, but every once in a while, they can also really make a difference.