Pat Quinn died Sunday of ALS.
Pat Quinn, associate of the ALS Association and founder of 2014’s viral Ice Bucket Challenge, died on Sunday from complications from his own ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 37 years old.
ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the human brain and spinal column, gradually stripping the victim of their ability to control their body before eventually causing their lungs to stop. Little is known about this disease, including if there is any way to cure it. In 2014, New York resident Pat Quinn, who had been diagnosed with ALS the year prior, partnered with the ALS Association, a nonprofit that funds care for victims of ALS and research for a cure, to create a charity initiative.
Quinn’s idea was the Ice Bucket Challenge, a simple premise for a viral video that would involve a participant pouring a large bucket of water and ice over their heads, followed by nominating several other people for the same. The exact angle of the charity aspect of the challenge varied from person to person, with some choosing to donate a large sum of money to the ALS Association in lieu of having the water dumped on them, while others chose to donate no matter what their decision was. Either way, over the course of the challenge’s viral popularity, the ALS Association raised over $115 million from approximately 2.5 million donors.
“Nobody knew the Ice Bucket Challenge would become a worldwide phenomenon, but we united as one because that is what it takes to change a disease like ALS,” Quinn said during the challenge’s five-year anniversary. “The Ice Bucket Challenge connected with a sweet left hook to the jaw of ALS and shook the disease up, but by no means is this fight over. We need to knock this disease out.”
“Pat fought ALS with positivity and bravery and inspired all around him,” the ALS Association said in a news release. “Those of us who knew him are devastated but grateful for all he did to advance the fight against ALS.”