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30 November 2017

The man who inspired the ALS Ice Bucket challenge dies at 46

The challeneg went viral on social media during July and August in 2014, with celebs like Ellen DeGeneres and Kim Kardashian also taking part by pouring buckets of ice water over their heads.

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Remember back in 2014 when celebrities were dunking buckets of Ice over their heads in a bid to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Anthony Senerchia Jr, who was the inspiration behind the challenge, died this past weekend at the age of 46.

The challenge, which was called the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, was to promote awareness of the disease and encourage donations to research.  The illness is locally known as motor neurone disease (MND), which is what claimed the life of Springbok hero Joost van der Westhuizen earlier this year.

The challeneg went viral on social media during July and August in 2014, with celebs like Ellen DeGeneres and Kim Kardashian also taking part by pouring buckets of ice water over their heads.

Anthony was diagnosed 14 years ago, not long after marrying his high school sweetheart Jeanette Hane in 2003, reports The Daily Mail.

Jeanette said that even though his mind and body were deteriorating over the years, her husband found inspiration in their nine-year-old daughter, Taya.

“It's a difficult disease and tough when you're losing.

“Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter… He was our light. He made our life better,” Jeanette told The Journal

According to Time, the challenge raised an incredible $115 million (R1,6 billion) and the money largely went to fund research.

It all started when Jeanette’s cousin, golfer Chris Kennedy, was nominated early on to participate in the challenge. At the time it was not yet connected to ALS, but when Chris passed along the challenge to others, he chose the ALS Association as a beneficiary because of his brother-in-law’s battle with the disease.

“What started out as a small gesture to put a smile on Anthony’s face and bring some awareness to this terrible disease has turned into a national phenomenon and it is something we never could have dreamed of,” Chris told TIME in 2014.

Anthony’s obituary said his positive attitude and fighting spirit helped him beat the odds by living 10 years beyond doctor’s prognosis.

“Throughout his fight, Anthony maintained a positive attitude and would say: ‘It’s not what we take from life, but what we give back to others is what ultimately defines us’,” reports Metro UK.

Sources: TIME, Metro UK, The Journal, The Daily Mail

 

 
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