Pete Frates, Corey Griffin and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Just last week, we posted the videos of two of our founders accepting the Everlasting Footprint ALS ice bucket challenge (#icebucketchallenge). This #strikeoutALS movement has taken the world by storm with celebrities, athletes, politicians, and business leaders showcasing their creativity and making elaborate videos to inspire folks to dump ice water on their heads AND donate to ALS research.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
ALS is sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, referencing the famous NY Yankee who was affected by ALS and drew national public attention to it. Read more about Lou Gehrig at his Everlasting Footprint.
The birth of the ALS ice bucket challenge movement is credited to Peter Frates, a former Boston College baseball star who suffers from ALS. His video talking about ALS and issuing the challenge to others inspired his friends and other folks to spread word about the movement, and before long, a viral sensation was born.
Behind the scenes of this first challenge is a touching story of friendship. Many within Pete Frates’ circle acknowledge that one of the guys who propelled this challenge, and really paid it forward, was Corey Griffin. A longtime friend of Frates, Griffin threw a fundraiser event for Frates and ALS back in 2012, when Frates was first diagnosed with the disease. In recent weeks, he had raised $100,000 for a separate Lou Gehrig’s Disease charity and was brainstorming new fundraising ideas and events with Frates.
Corey Griffin, inventor of ALS ice bucket challenge
In a tragic twist of fate, Corey Griffin passed away in a diving accident in Nantucket, Massachusetts a few days ago. Pete Frates’ “Team FrateTrain” announced his passing on its Facebook page saying, “Team FrateTrain lost a good friend today, Corey Griffin. Julie, myself, the Frates family and Team FrateTrain sends their love and support to the South Shore and the Griffin family… God Bless. RIP Corey.” Facebook fans piled on to the post, and one comment read, “He’s an ALS hero in my eyes and he must have loved you with his every fiber.”
Corey Griffin found a way to inspire people to get involved in the charity and get excited about paying it forward. His legacy lives on in the contribution he’s made to ALS research by creating the ALS ice bucket challenge.
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