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Pat Quinn, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Co-Founder, Dies at 37

The social media phenomenon helped raise $220 million worldwide for ALS research

Pat Quinn, the activist who helped boost the awareness of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and helped raise $220 million across the world for research, has died. He was 37.

Quinn was diagnosed with ALS in March 2013. The following year, he saw the Ice Bucket Challenge on social media and felt it could be the way to get the word out about the illness. The challenge became a social media sensation and helped raise $115 million for the ALS Association and $220 million for ALS research worldwide.

Quinn founded the Ice Bucket Challenge along with Pete Frates and Anthony Senerchia, both of whom also passed away from ALS. Together, the three of them were recognized by the ALS Association as “ALS Heroes” back in 2015.

Quinn spoke about how the disease had affected him five years after the Ice Bucket Challenge first went viral and explained how “everything can change in an instant, or nothing can change for decades.”

“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. 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,” Quinn said (via The ALS Association). “Once again, we need to challenge the world to rally behind our fight. When the Ice Bucket Challenge happened, I was walking, talking, eating, and even breathing on my own. You can see what ALS does. Don’t look away.”

Following his work with the Ice Bucket Challenge, Quinn and his Quinn for the Win organization launched Project Revoice, which helped raise awareness about the affects of ALS on a person’s voice. The project encouraged “voice banking” for those who were affected by the disease.

“Our thoughts are with the Quinn family, the Quinn for the Win team of supporters, and everyone who knew and loved Pat. He will continue to inspire all of us,” the ALS Association said in a statement.