Online drinking game sparks kindness challenge

Josh Stern, a University of Ottawa medical student, started the social media movement Feed the Deed...

Josh Stern, a University of Ottawa medical student, started the social media movement Feed the Deed to rival Neknominate. (Tony Caldwell/QMI Agency)

Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

TORONTO - This is a story about dangerous binge drinking, my awesome nephew and my son who hates needles.

But let’s begin at the beginning with Neknominate, an online drinking game that has swept the globe in just a few weeks. People post videos of themselves chugging a ridiculous amount of alcohol while doing some outlandish stunt and then dare a friend to do the same within 24 hours.

It’s peer pressure drinking on a global scale that may have originated in Australia. Its name comes from “necking,” slang for chugging, and the instructions go like this: “Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don’t break the chain. Don’t be a d---.”

Naturally, people began trying to outdo each other with more disgusting concoctions and more outrageous pranks: The drink and dare craze has had one alpha male filming himself swallowing three goldfish in a pint of cider, engine oil and urine and another jumping off a 28-metre high bridge after downing a bottle of cider.

Neknominate has already been blamed for two deaths in Ireland. And like all stupid fads, it took no time to arrive here.

But University of Ottawa medical student Josh Stern, who, I must add with a proud disclaimer, is also my nephew, has decided to cut the silly binge drinking trend off at its knees.

In the past week, Neknominate had reached Stern’s group of friends and in the flurry of Facebook postings, he knew it was only a matter of time before it was his turn to be challenged online. But he saw its potential to become something far more meaningful than a stunt to out-drink your pals.

He had stumbled across a YouTube video by Brent Lindeque, a young South African who decided to change up his Neknomination. Instead of drinking, he delivered food to a homeless man and then challenged his friends to create something positive with their nomination.

It was Feb. 2, the night before his psychiatry and ophthalmology exam and Stern couldn’t sleep. Inspired by Lindeque, the 22-year-old decided he should start a social media movement that would rival Neknominate.

“I call it Feed the Deed,” he explained. “Instead of calling out your friends to drink insane amounts and one-up each other, why not try doing a good deed and pay it forward?”


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