Anthony Senerchia didn’t let his disease get him down. Instead, he used it as a way to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, through inspiring a viral sensation, the ice bucket challenge. And after a 14-year battle with ALS, Senerchia passed away on Nov. 25.
On the off chance you’re not familiar, the ice bucket challenge involves dumping a bucket of ice over your head and sharing a video of it online. You can challenge your friends to do so, too. If you participate, you can also make a donation to the ALS Association to help support the ALS community.
The trend started in 2014 when Senerchia and two others fighting ALS, Pat Quinn and Pete Frates teamed up to make a difference. Since then, millions of videos have been posted and over $200 million for ALS research has been donated.
Remember seeing these videos all over the place? So much fun for such a great cause. Even celebrities got in on the viral video phenomenon.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It causes muscles to deteriorate, therefore potentially causing the loss of movement, speech and breathing, according to the ALS Association.
Along with inspiring millions online, Senerchia also inspired his family, his wife, Jeanette and his daughter, Taya.
“It’s a difficult disease and tough when you’re losing,” Jeanette Senerchia told Lohud.com. “Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter… He was our light. He made our life better.”
— E! News (@enews) November 30, 2017
Anthony and Jeanette were high school sweethearts, and shortly after they were married, Anthony was diagnosed with ALS in 2003. Five years after the diagnosis, the couple had a daughter. Taya is now nine years old, and there’s a fund online you can donate to in order to help pave the way for her future.
In his 46 years of life, Senerchia managed to inspire many and raise awareness about the disease that would ultimately take his life, and based on the reaction to his death online, his story has touched the hearts of many.
People are sending their condolences online.
We are terribly sorry to learn of Anthony’s passing. As one of the founders of the #IceBucketChallenge, he was an inspiration to all of us in the global #ALS #MND community. His legacy will be felt for many years to come. https://t.co/fhmotNnCPV
— ALS/MND Alliance (@ALSMNDAlliance) December 1, 2017
We are very sorry to share that Anthony Senerchia, co-founder of #ALSIceBucketChallenge passed away on Saturday. Please see this video to learn more about him and his wife, Jeanette, and how they helped inspire a global phenomenon. https://t.co/4HFasgcif9
— The ALS Association (@alsassociation) November 27, 2017
wishing all family members, friends and other relations light & strength in the times yet to come
— Marlies van Eunen (@vaneun) November 27, 2017
I'm so sorry to hear this. Sending thoughts and prayers to all who's lives he touched.
— Chris Johnson (@chrisj61166832) November 27, 2017
R.I.P. Anthony Senerchia Jr. who passed away a few days ago from #ALS. Anthony was the inspiration behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral around the world & raised approx. $139-million with 6 different ALS charities. Thanks to all those who participated/donated.
— Mark Monsma (@monsmaark) December 1, 2017
Visited my #hometown of #Pelham today to say goodbye to my beloved friend #Senerch ! One of the most heroic men that I had the privilege to know! I really thought that #ALS had finally met it's match with #AnthonySenerchia #icebucketchallenge
May his tender memory be eternal pic.twitter.com/5d88gzKbuY
— michael karloutsos (@makarloutsos) November 28, 2017
Anthony Senerchia's courage, leadership, and commitment under the most difficult of circumstances improved the lives of so many individuals and families touched by ALS. His loss is profound, but so were his contributions. #icebucketchallenge https://t.co/sZFEHAXDGI
— Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) November 29, 2017
Our hearts go out to the Senerchia family. To help find a cure for ALS, you can donate to the ALS Association.