Anthony Senerchia Jr. doing the Ice Bucket Challenge

Screengrab via The ALS Association/YouTube

Inspiration for Ice-Bucket Challenge passes away at age 46

Anthony Senerchia Jr. and his family helped turn the challenge into a viral sensation.


Audra Schroeder


Published Nov 30, 2017   Updated May 22, 2021, 9:28 am CDT

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.


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*First Published: Nov 30, 2017, 10:35 am CST