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Pat Quinn (1983–2020), Ice Bucket Challenge co-founder

by Linnea Crowther

Pat Quinn was an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) activist who co-founded the viral Ice Bucket Challenge fundraiser.

A warrior against ALS

Quinn was diagnosed with ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – shortly after his 30th birthday in 2013. After his diagnosis, he pulled together a group of friends and supporters to help raise awareness and funds, dubbing them “Quinn for the Win.” In 2014. Quinn saw golfer Chris Kennedy originate the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS, dumping a bucket of ice water over his dead. Kennedy did it to cheer a friend with ALS, without tying the challenge to a charitable donation. Quinn became one of the first to do the Ice Bucket Challenge and pledge a donation to support ALS research. His Quinn for the Win crew helped amplify it, as did fellow ALS sufferer Pete Frates and his supporters. The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral, with people all over the world taking part, including celebrities such as LeBron James, Oprah Winfrey, and President George W. Bush. The challenge ultimately raised more than $220 million for ALS research in just six weeks.

Notable quote

“Time is a funny thing. Everything can change in an instant, or nothing can change for decades. You never know what life will yield. It’s important to take every moment and live in a way that moves you, moves others. Make your time here purposeful and authentic.” —from a speech Quinn gave at the fifth anniversary of the Ice Bucket Challenge

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Tributes to Pat Quinn

Full obituary: The New York Times

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