Pat Quinn, Who Promoted A.L.S. Ice Bucket Challenge, Dies at 37

Pat Quinn, who helped raise $220 million to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., by promoting the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, died on Sunday, seven years after he learned he had the disease. He was 37.

His death, at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y., was confirmed by the A.L.S. Association and in a post on his official Facebook page.

Mr. Quinn did not create the challenge, in which people dumped buckets of ice water on their heads while pledging to donate money to fight A.L.S. But he and his friend Pete Frates, who also had A.L.S., are credited with amplifying it and helping to make it a sensation in the summer and fall of 2014, raising tens of millions of dollars for research and, perhaps nearly as important, wider awareness of the disease.

“Pat changed the trajectory of the fight against A.L.S. forever,” Calaneet Balas, the president and chief executive of the A.L.S. Association, said in a statement on Sunday. “He inspired millions to get involved and care about people who are living with A.L.S.”

A.L.S., also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements and leads to full paralysis. People with the disease typically live three to five years from the time of diagnosis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Shortly after Mr. Quinn learned he had A.L.S. in 2013, he created Quinn for the Win, a Facebook group, to raise awareness of the disease and to raise money to fight for a cure. Mr. Frates created his own page, Team Frate Train, with the same goal.

In July 2014, Mr. Quinn and Mr. Frates saw another A.L.S. patient, Anthony Senerchia, do the Ice Bucket Challenge online. They created their own ice-bucket videos and shared the challenge with their followers. (Mr. Frates died last year at age 34.)

From there, the campaign spread wildly, with Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James and scores of other celebrities participating and donating to the cause. The challenge raised $115 million for the A.L.S. Association and $220 million around the world for A.L.S. research in the span of just six weeks, the A.L.S. Association said.

Mr. Quinn’s efforts “dramatically accelerated the effort to end A.L.S., leading to new research discoveries, expanded care for people living with A.L.S., and greater investment by the government in A.L.S. research,” Ms. Balas said.

In a 2015 interview for Talks at Google in Manhattan, Mr. Quinn was asked if he had a favorite celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge video. He noted that Mr. James, Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio had each done one, but declined to single one out.

“It’s not worth getting picky,” he said, “because every challenge, no matter how big or small, was doing what we originally set out to do, which was create awareness, and the money coming in was just completely unexpected.”

Patrick Ryan Quinn was born on Feb. 10, 1983, in Yonkers to Rosemary Quinn and Patrick Quinn Sr. He attended Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he was on the rugby team.

He received his A.L.S. diagnosis in March 2013, a month after his 30th birthday, according to the A.L.S. Association.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his brothers, Dan and Scott Quinn, according to the association. His marriage to Jennifer Flynn ended in divorce.

After the challenge, Mr. Quinn continued to speak out about the fight for a cure and conducted the challenge every August in his hometown in an event called “Every August Until the Cure.”

Mr. Quinn lost his voice in 2017. The next year, a company called Project Revoice used the interviews and speeches he had given to promote the Ice Bucket Challenge to create a “voice bank” of his recorded speech. The innovation allowed him to communicate with a digital approximation of his own voice using existing eye-gaze technology.

Speaking to an audience in Boston last year for the fifth anniversary of the challenge, Mr. Quinn said the campaign “connected with a sweet left hook to the jaw of A.L.S. and shook the disease up, but by no means is this fight over.”

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