Pat Quinn Re-launches
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
By Irish America Staff
August 5, 2015
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, last summer’s internet viral sensation, was officially re-launched August 2 in Yonkers, New York, sponsored by the City of Yonkers and the Empire City Casino.
More than 700 people gathered at the casino’s historic Yonkers Raceway to mark the event, including Pat Quinn, co-founder of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and 2014 Irish America Hall of Fame inductee; Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; City Council President Liam McLaughlin; Assembly Member Shelly Mayer; and Empire City Casino public affairs director Taryn Duffy.
Quinn kicked off participants in a simultaneous ice bucket challenge to reignite the viral social media movement through the month of August to benefit ALS research.
“Last summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought new hope and a unified sense of fight to ALS patients all over the world. I’m extremely proud to know Quinn for the Win and Yonkers were a major catalyst in making this happen. We are now living by the mantra, ‘Every August Until A Cure,’” said challenge co-founder Pat Quinn.
In August 2014, Quinn, along with Pete Frates of Boston, MA, both ALS patients, co-founded the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The effort became a global phenomenon with more than 17 million videos of people taking the challenge being posted on Facebook last year, ranging from Ethel Kennedy to Bill Gates to Hozier.
Quinn, who was born and raised in Yonkers and inducted to the Irish America Hall of Fame last year for his work raising money for ALS research, was diagnosed with the disease in March, 2013, when he was just 30.
“Pat Quinn’s fight and determination to combat this horrible disease has been nothing short of inspirational,” said mayor Spano.
“With Pat as our fearless leader, the City of Yonkers hopes to recharge the energy we all felt last summer as part of the Ice Bucket Challenge. We encourage any and all to join us on August 2 so we can continue to make strides in finding a cure to ALS.”
“We are excited and proud to be involved in such an important effort,” said Tim Rooney, president and CEO of Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. “Having lost my uncle, Fr. Silas Rooney, to this disease my family is all too familiar with its devastating effects. Efforts to raise awareness and research funds are vital and must continue.”
To date, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has generated more than $220 million in donations for ALS-oriented nonprofits. Many of those donations have been invested or allocated to support new ALS research efforts, increased advocacy, and expanded and improved local care and services for people diagnosed with ALS, their families, and care providers.
The re-launch also corresponded with a sponsorship by the Funny or Die team, releasing a parody video of the ALS Association trying to top last summer’s ubiquitous challenge.
The video features appearances by Martha Stewart, J.K. Simmons, and Neil Patrick Harris, suggesting even more ridiculous challenges, until the “director” finally realizes, “There is nothing better than ice. Everybody has it in their fridge. It’s fun to see poured on the head…. And people can do it with their shirts off if they want to.”
See for yourself:
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