Campaign to ‘kick Ebola in the butt’ aims for viral success

    Put down that ice bucket. Two Philadelphians are trying to “kick Ebola in the butt” with their own video awareness campaign.

    The challenge takes two people, one soccer ball and good aim. Creator Michael Lahoud, Philadelphia Union midfielder, explains how it works in a YouTube video.

    “If he hits the target, I donate $100. If he misses the target, he donates $100,” said Lahoud, referring to the co-creator of the challenge, Temple professor Thilo Kunkel. “Our donations? They go to Doctors Without Borders. As you may have guessed, the target? It’s my butt.”

    Lahoud says there are three rules to a safe kick: bend over, protect your head and use a soft ball.

    About 500 people have taken up the challenge since its inception at the beginning of August, K.unkel said.

    “It took the ice bucket about six months to catch on, we think we’re doing pretty good,” he said. Kunkel and Lahoud are talking with other major league soccer teams to try to harness their star power for more donations.

    Even without those endorsements, the challenge has traveled. “We’ve been kicking butts around the country and around the world,” said Kunkel. We have had ‘Kick Ebola in the Butt’ challenges in Germany, England and Australia.”

    And those are just the ones that have linked back to the campaign. Kunkel said he’s heard of some other participant videos going uncounted.

    For full rules and to participate, visit Kickebolainthebutt.com.

    Donations go to the nonprofit Doctors without Borders, which estimates it will have spent nearly $60 million fighting the outbreak by the end of this year.

    Ebola has claimed almost 5,000 lives in West Africa to date. Lahoud and Kunkel said they plan to keep fundraising until after the outbreak has been contained so that they can contribute to housing and aid for people who have lost family and will need continued support.

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