The man who cofounded the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge passed away on Nov. 25 at age 46. The movement helped raise awareness for the disease worldwide.
Anthony Senerchia Passes Away
On Nov. 25, Anthony Senerchia, the man whose battle with ALS inspired the global social media movement passed away at age 46. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease, and fought the battle for 14 years.
In a 2015, interview about the Ice Bucket Challenge, his wife, Jeanette, stated that while Anthony didn't think that the movement will help him, he did believe that it will help someone who will be diagnosed with ALS in the future.
"He was a fighter ... He was our light. He made our life better," said Jeanette.
How The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Sparked An International Movement
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge began in 2014 as a simple challenge on Facebook where Anthony's wife, Jeanette, challenged three of her Facebook friends to do the challenge as well. Soon, people kept on doing the challenge and passing it on to other social media friends as well.
The Boston media took notice of the challenge, and by the second week, the national media had covered it as well. By the third week, celebrities also took the challenge, and by the fourth week, people all over the world were taking part in what had already become a global movement.
Fruits Of The Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge proved successful in raising awareness for ALS in just four months, and its founders continue to invite people to do the challenge again to continue raising awareness for ALS in hopes of one day finding a cure.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has since raised $115 million so far, $77 million of which (67 percent) is being allotted to research and $23 million for patient care and community services. The remaining funds are being used for professional and public education on the disease as well as for fundraising efforts and other processing fees.
Lou Gehrig's Disease
ALS was first discovered in 1869 by neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot but was only brought to public attention in 1939 by famous baseball player, Lou Gehrig.
It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the spinal cord and nerve cells in the brain. The degeneration of the motor neurons eventually results in their death, which leads to the individuals' inability to initiate and control the muscles in their body. In its later stages, ALS could lead to complete paralysis.
There is no cure for ALS yet, but researchers continue their quest to find one.