Pat Quinn, credited as one of the founders of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which took the world by storm in August 2014 and raised more than $220 million around the world for ALS research, died on Sunday. He was 37.
“We are deeply sorry to share that Pat Quinn passed away today,” the ALS Association said in a statement posted yesterday. “Pat was co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and an inspiration to millions of people around the world.”
The Ice Bucket Challenge was the first viral fundraising sensation on social media, with people sharing videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice over their heads and then challenging others to do the same while also making donations to ALS organizations.
The Washington, D.C.-based ALS Association went on to raise $115 million and acquire almost 2.5 million new donors. At the height of the challenge, the association was getting as much as $10 million a day in donations. Prior to that, the ALS Association and its 38 affiliates typically generated revenue of less than $80 million annually. The challenge also was a catalyst for the development of Facebook Fundraisers.
The Ice Bucket Challenge “dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS, leading to new research discoveries, expanded care for people living with ALS, and significant investment from the government in ALS research,” according to The ALS Association. The association began doling out research grants months after the challenge and leveraged $89 million in research grants to raise another $100 million.
Quinn was instrumental in raising awareness and funds for ALS through viral videos like the Ice Bucket Challenge, along with Pete Frates, who died in 2019, and Anthony Senerchia, who passed in 2017. He was diagnosed with ALS in March 2013, a month after he turned 30 years old. He established Quinn for the Win to raise awareness and funds for the fight against ALS.
The ALS Association honored the three men in 2015 as “ALS Heroes” during its annual Leadership Conference. The award is given to people living with ALS who have had a significant positive impact on the fight against ALS, also referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”
Quinn raised awareness of the effects of ALS on a person’s voice and the importance of voice banking through “Project Revoice,” which was seen by millions around the world, according to the ALS Association. He also started a social media campaign encouraging everyone to “FindUrSmile,” and started with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw in a television public service announcement that aired more than 63,000 times nationwide.
Quinn continued to host an Ice Bucket Challenge in his hometown of Yonkers, N.Y. each year with the theme, “Every August Until a Cure.”