Remember back in 2014 when celebrities were dunking buckets
of Ice over their heads in a bid to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral
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
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
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
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
Sources: TIME, Metro UK, The Journal, The Daily Mail