We all know Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a disease that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles, impacting physical function.
Anthony Senerchia was diagnosed with ALS in 2003 and inspired the viral Ice Bucket Challenge. He died on November 25, after a 14 year-long battle with the disease.
“It’s a difficult disease and tough when you’re losing,” his wife, Jeanette, told the Journal News Media Group. “Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter… He was our light. He made our life better.”
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that had everyone pouring buckets of ice cold water over their heads to raise awareness of the disease and encouraging donations for cure and treatments, started out when Jeanette's cousin Chris Kennedy, challenged her and few others to take part by pouring a bucket of icy water over their heads.
“He sent it to me as a joke and then it turned into something extraordinary,” Jeanette told the Journal News.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, inspiring an estimated 17 million videos with donations eventually reaching $200 million for ALS research and advocacy organizations.
“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,” Kennedy told TIME in 2014, “and it is something we could never have dreamed of."
Senerchia lived to see how a simple video posted in his honor went viral with millions of people supporting the cause. He lived to see the generosity and the seriousness of everyone's actions as they openly participated and challenged others. This disease may have taken his life but he has lived to know that he inspired a stir within the community and he wasn't alone in his battle.
“Anthony will be remembered as a fireball who tried everything in life,” his obituary reads. “He was family oriented, generous and always ready to lend a helping hand. He was a great husband, a proud father, a loving son and a great brother. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.”
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