The Man Who Inspired Ice Bucket Challenge Dies of ALS at 46 

The Ice Bucket Challenge was initiated to raise awareness about the fatal neurological disease ALS.

Updated
Health News
2 min read
Anthony Senerchia Jr, who was an inspiration for the viral challenge, died on Saturday at the age of 46, after a 14-year battle with ALS.
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Three years ago, social media was overflowing with videos of people emptying ice-cold buckets of water on themselves. The Ice Bucket Challenge, as it was called, was initiated to raise awareness about the fatal neurological disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Anthony Senerchia Jr, who was an inspiration for the viral challenge, died on Saturday at the age of 46, after a 14-year battle with ALS. The disease is a rare disorder in which the motor neurons that control muscle function slowly die. It currently has no cure.

“Anthony's positive attitude and fighting spirit helped him beat doctors' expectations by living more than ten years beyond their prognosis,” his obituary said. It added that, “he worked tirelessly to raise awareness for ALS and was directly responsible for the world-renowned Ice Bucket Challenge.”

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge emerged in the summer of 2014, in which people emptied a bucket of ice cold water over their heads and then donated money which would be used for conducting research for ALS. Once done, they would nominate others who were to do the same.

Ice Bucket Challenge videos were everywhere across the globe, and people emulated celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr, Akshay Kumar, and Abhishek Bachchan who did the same. However, some like Sonakshi Sinha refused to “waste water” and just donated money towards the cause instead.

In two months, the campaign had raised more than USD 115 million and was able to fund a number of research projects.

Last year, one such project announced that all that funding had led to breakthrough research and their discovery would lead to new treatment possibilities.

And Anthony Senerchia reportedly played a significant role in getting the campaign started. Chris Kennedy, a golfer in the United States, was nominated to do the challenge, which at that time had nothing to do with ALS.

But when he passed it along, he decided to link the challenge to the disease as his relative Anthony was suffering from it. From then on, it became a tool to raise awareness about ALS. This appears to be the first connection between the viral Ice Bucket Challenge and ALS.

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