Remember back in the summer of 2014 when everyone started throwing ice buckets on their bodies like it was something ordinary? Anthony Senerhia Jr, co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has died aged 46. The Ice Bucket Challenge, or the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving the dumping of a bucket of ice and water over a person’s head. This was done either by yourself or by someone else so as to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. After a couple of people started it, it quickly went viral and a lot of celebrities started doing it and donated money to other organizations.
The fund-raising trend involved people nominating each other on social media in the name of charity. Anthony has made an incredible difference to people’s lives in the last couple of years. The Facebook challenge raised a lot of money for a great cause. Supporters ended up raising over $115 million for the ALS Association. The money was used to fund the research and development of treatment drugs.
Anthony Senerchia Jr. He inspired the entire community of Pelham, New York, with his love of football, and courage. Then, an entire nation… #icebucketchallenge #als #defeatALS pic.twitter.com/0ynEo0fs2r
— Dave Garufi (@Iona1991) November 27, 2017
To be exact, $77 million, or 67 percent of the total money went to the research of the disease ALS, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
This disease causes a quick breakdown in a person’s ability to control muscle movement. It’s because it targets nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Other famous cases aside from baseball player Lou Gehrig include British scientist Professor Stephen Hawking.
Anthony Senerchia Jr was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2003. His 14 year long battle is now over. He was a brave man who fought together with his family and community from his home in Pelham, New York.
In 2014 he was the inspiration behind the viral trend, which raised funds and also awareness for the disease. The challenge spread very quickly on the social media and a lot of celebrities took part. These included celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr., as well as hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world.
The campaign raised over $100m within 30 days, and went on to fund a number of research projects. These projects included one scientific breakthrough in ALS research where a brand new gene was discovered.
In Anthony’s touching obituary, his family said about him: “He worked tirelessly to raise awareness for ALS and was directly responsible for the world-renowned Ice bucket challenge.”
City of Yonkers pays tribute to Anthony Senerchia, one of the originators of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge who passed away this week. We thank him for helping raise over $200 million for ALS research. Our deepest condolences are with his family & friends. https://t.co/LxYO4DGNQ4 pic.twitter.com/T452w3WkVn
— City of Yonkers (@CityofYonkers) November 29, 2017
The man became an inspiration for the viral challenge after his wife’s cousin, golfer Chris Kennedy, was nominated to take part in an ‘ice bucket’ challenge.
At that point, Kennedy’s challenge was not about the disease that Anthony suffered from. After deciding to take part, Kennedy said he would do it to raise money for ALS and passed the challenge on through social media. Eventually, Anthony set up his own charity, called the Anthony Senerchia Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation. It donated money to the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for ALS research, as well as to families whose lives were affected by the disease.
It is with heavy hearts we announce the loss of a good friend and brother. Anthony Senerchia Jr. a member of our department has moved on to a better place after a brave battle with ALS. Anthony was issued badge number 44 and officially made an Honorary Member RestEasy #44 #ALS pic.twitter.com/yrWJ405jPT
— Pelham Fire Dept. (@Pelham_NY_Fire) November 25, 2017
The obituary continues: “Anthony will be remembered as a fireball who tried everything in life. He was family oriented, generous and always ready to lend a helping hand.”
Senerchia left behind his wonderful wife, Jeanette Hane Senerchia, and his young daughter, Taya. It is now clear that he will never be forgotten by his community. An online fund has even been started for his daughter, which has so far raised more than $50,000.
We are very sorry to share that Anthony Senerchia, co-founder of #ALSIceBucketChallenge passed away on Saturday. Please see this video to learn more about him and his wife, Jeanette, and how they helped inspire a global phenomenon. https://t.co/4HFasgcif9
— The ALS Association (@alsassociation) November 27, 2017
“It’s a difficult disease and tough when you’re losing,” his wife Jeanette said in an interview. “Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter … He was our light. He made our life better.”