Inspiration for Ice-Bucket Challenge passes away at age 46

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In the summer of 2014, the Ice-Bucket Challenge was everywhere. Celebrities, public figures, and even dogs were filmed being doused with ice-cold water to raise awareness about the degenerative disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and raise money for research.

One of the inspirations for the challenge, Anthony Senerchia Jr., passed away on Nov. 25 of the disease. He was 46.

Senerchia was diagnosed with ALS in 2003. In July 2014, his wife’s cousin, golfer Chris Kennedy, filmed himself doing the ice-bucket challenge, though at that time it was up to the participant to choose a charity to donate to. Kennedy picked ALS research, tagged his cousin, and the challenge took off. “He sent it to me as a joke and then it turned into something extraordinary,” wife Jeanette told The Journal News on Sunday.

In 2016, the original bucket used in her video was included in a Smithsonian exhibit about philanthropy.

The ice-bucket challenge wasn’t just a viral commodity; the donations apparently helped fund research that discovered a new gene that contributes to the disease, and researchers at Johns Hopkins made breakthroughs as well.

Senerchia leaves behind a wife and daughter.


Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.