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Pat Quinn, who promoted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, dies at 37

Pat Quinn, who helped raise $ 220 million to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, by promoting the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, died on Sunday, seven years after learning he had the disease. He was 37 years old.

His death, at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, NY, was confirmed by the ALS Association and in a post on its official Facebook page.

Mr Quinn didn’t create the challenge, in which people threw buckets of ice water over their heads while pledging to donate money to fight ALS But he and his friend Pete Frates, who also had ALS, are credited with amplifying it and helping to make it a sensation in the summer and fall of 2014, raising tens of millions of dollars for research and, perhaps almost too. important, wider awareness of the disease.

“Pat has forever changed the trajectory of the fight against ALS,” said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of the ALS Association, on Sunday. “He has inspired millions of people to get involved and care about people living with ALS”

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement and leads to complete paralysis. People with the disease typically live three to five years from diagnosis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Soon after Mr. Quinn learned he had ALS in 2013, he created Quinn for the Win, a Facebook group, to raise awareness about the disease and raise funds to fight for a cure. Mr. Frates created his own page, Team Frate Train, with the same goal.

In July 2014, Mr. Quinn and Mr. Frates saw another ALS patient, Anthony Senerchia, take the Ice Bucket Challenge online. They created their own ice bucket videos and shared the challenge with their followers. (Mr. Frates died last year at the age of 34.)

From there, the campaign spread widely, with Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James and many other celebrities participating and donating to the cause. The challenge raised $ 115 million for the ALS Association and $ 220 million globally for ALS research in just six weeks, the ALS Association said.

Dr. Quinn’s efforts “dramatically accelerated the effort to end ALS, leading to new research discoveries, expanded care for people living with ALS, and greater government investment in research.” on ALS, ”said Ms. Balas.

In a 2015 interview for Talks at Google in Manhattan, Mr. Quinn was asked if he had a celebrity favorite video on the Ice Bucket Challenge. He noted that Mr. James, Bill Gates, and Leonardo DiCaprio each made one, but declined to pick one.

“It’s not worth being picky,” he said, “because every challenge, no matter how small, was to do what we originally planned to do, which is to create awareness. , and the money coming in was completely unexpected.

Patrick Ryan Quinn was born February 10, 1983 in Yonkers to Rosemary Quinn and Patrick Quinn Sr. He attended Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, where he was on the rugby team.

He was diagnosed with ALS in March 2013, a month after his 30th birthday, according to the ALS Association.

Besides his parents, he is survived by his brothers, Dan and Scott Quinn, according to the association. His marriage to Jennifer Flynn ended in divorce.

After the challenge, Mr. Quinn continued to speak about the struggle for healing and led the challenge each August in his hometown at an event called “Every August Until Healing”.

Mr. Quinn lost his voice in 2017. The following year, a company called Project Revoice used the interviews and speeches he gave to promote the Ice Bucket Challenge to create a “voice bank” of his recorded speech. . The innovation allowed him to communicate with a digital approximation of his own voice using existing eye gazing technology.

Speaking to an audience in Boston last year for the challenge’s fifth anniversary, Mr Quinn said the campaign “was tied to a soft left hook to the jaw from ALS and rocked the disease, but that fight is by no means finished. “

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