Incredibly sad news has just reached us, that Anthony Senerchia Jr, the inspirational man who helped launch the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has died aged 46.
You might remember the fund raising trend that involved people on social media nominating each other to dump an ice cold bucket of water over their head in the name of charity.
Anthony has made an incredible difference to people’s lives over the past few years, with the simple Facebook stunt raising an incredible amount of money for the good cause.
Supporters ended up raising over $115 million for the ALS Association, with money from the challenge helping to fund the research and development of treatment drugs.
Anthony Senerchia Jr. He inspired the entire community of Pelham, New York, with his love of football, and courage. Then, an entire nation… #icebucketchallenge #als #defeatALS pic.twitter.com/0ynEo0fs2r
— Dave Garufi (@Iona1991) November 27, 2017
$77 million, or 67 percent of the total money raised, went towards research of the disease ALS, which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The disease causes a rapid breakdown in a person’s ability to control muscle movement due to it targeting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Other famous cases aside from baseball player Lou Gehrig include British scientist Professor Stephen Hawking.
Anthony Senerchia Jr was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2003. He fought a brave 14 year battle with the condition from his home in Pelham, New York, and was adored by his family and community alike.
But none of that stopped him from co-founding the ice bucket challenge.
In 2014 he was the inspiration behind the viral trend, which raised funds and also awareness for the disease. People took up the challenge and it quickly spread online, with celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. taking part, as well as hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world.
The campaign raised over $100m within 30 days, and went on to fund a number of research projects, including one which led to an important scientific breakthrough in ALS research where a brand new gene was discovered.
The ALS Association showed that some of the additional funds totaling $23 million, or 20 percent of the money raised, went to patient and community services to directly benefit people living with ALS.
In Anthony’s touching obituary, his family said about him: “He worked tirelessly to raise awareness for ALS and was directly responsible for the world-renowned Ice bucket challenge.”
City of Yonkers pays tribute to Anthony Senerchia, one of the originators of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge who passed away this week. We thank him for helping raise over $200 million for ALS research. Our deepest condolences are with his family & friends. https://t.co/LxYO4DGNQ4 pic.twitter.com/T452w3WkVn
— City of Yonkers (@CityofYonkers) November 29, 2017
Anthony become an inspiration for the viral challenge after his wife’s cousin, golfer Chris Kennedy, was nominated to take part in an ‘ice bucket’ challenge.
But at that point the fun challenge wasn’t actually anything to do with the disease that Anthony suffered from. After deciding to take part, Kennedy said he would do it to raise money for ALS and passed the challenge on through social media.
From there it spread and spread, with friends and family ‘nominating’ each other and encouraging others to donate to the ALS Association.
Eventually, Anthony went on to set up his own charity, the Anthony Senerchia Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation, which donated money to the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for ALS research, as well as to families whose lives were affected by the disease.
It is with heavy hearts we announce the loss of a good friend and brother. Anthony Senerchia Jr. a member of our department has moved on to a better place after a brave battle with ALS. Anthony was issued badge number 44 and officially made an Honorary Member RestEasy #44 #ALS pic.twitter.com/yrWJ405jPT
— Pelham Fire Dept. (@Pelham_NY_Fire) November 25, 2017
The obituary continues: “Anthony will be remembered as a fireball who tried everything in life. 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.”
Senerchia was 46 years old, and he leaves behind a wife, Jeanette Hane Senerchia, and a young daughter, Taya.
While Anthony has finally lost his battle against the disease he fought to raise awareness about, it’s clear that he will never be forgotten by his community. An online fund has even been started for his daughter, which has so far raised more than $50,000.
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
“It’s a difficult disease and tough when you’re losing,” his wife Jeanette said in an interview, “Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter … He was our light. He made our life better.”
You can find The Anthony Senerchia Jr. ALS Charitable Foundation here, and his daughter Taya’s online fund here, should you wish to donate to either.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Anthony’s family at this difficult time, and we wish condolences to everybody who knew him.
Let us know if you did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014 with a COMMENT, or simply leave some kind words about Anthony. Don’t forget to SHARE this article with your family and friends, to celebrate Anthony’s life and who knows, perhaps even raise a little more money in his name.