ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Co-Creator Patrick Quinn Dies at 37

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Co-Creator Patrick Quinn Dies at 37
Author Arianna Huffington, co-founder of ALS ice bucket challenge Patrick Quinn, and Anne Quinn attend the Klick Health MUSE NYC in New York City on March 31, 2016. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Klick, Inc.)
Isabel van Brugen
Patrick Quinn, co-creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, died aged 37 on Sunday following a lengthy battle with the neurodegenerative disease, according to a statement from the ALS Foundation.

His family said on social media that Quinn, who was born and grew up in Yonkers, New York, died Sunday morning, seven years after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to his Facebook page, the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign raised more than $220 million for medical research into the disease.

“It is with great sadness that we must share the passing of Patrick early this morning,” Quinn’s supporters said on Facebook. “We will always remember him for his inspiration and courage in his tireless fight against ALS.”

"He was a blessing to us all in so many ways," his family wrote.

The Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign was driven by Quinn and Pete Frates, and went viral on social media in the summer of 2014. The challenge involved people taking videos of themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads and urging others to do the same, while encouraging donations for medical research into ALS.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the neurodegenerative disease affects roughly 12,000 to 15,000 Americans. It largely affects the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement, such as chewing, walking, and talking. It is a progressive disease meaning that the symptoms worsen over time.

There is currently no cure for ALS, and no treatment available to halt or reverse the progression of the disease. It is believed that an estimated 5 to 10 percent of ALS cases are hereditary, but the cause is unknown.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the majority of ALS patients die from respiratory failure within three to five years after symptoms first appear. Roughly 10 percent survive for at least 10 years.

The ALS Association on Monday described the Ice Bucket fundraising campaign as “the greatest social media campaign in history,” that “dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS, leading to new research discoveries, expansion of care for people with ALS, and greater investment by the government in ALS research.”

Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Oprah Winfrey were among big-name supporters who participated in the challenge during the summer of 2014.
“Pat continued to raise awareness and funds for the fight against ALS and our thoughts are with the Quinn family and all of his friends and supporters. Pat was loved by many of us within the ALS community and around the world,” the ALS Association said in a statement on Twitter. “He will be missed, but he will continue to inspire us until we have a world without ALS.”