The man who inspired the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (which became a phenomenon in 2014) was Anthony Senerchia, who suffered from the disease himself. He fought bravely every day of his life and passed away on November 25, 2017. He left behind a grieving but brave family, and a legacy of fighting adversity with determination.

Anthony Senerchia, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge co-founder, passed away on Saturday, November 25, 2017, ending a 14-year-old battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He was 46 years old, and he was the inspiration behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral and became a global phenomenon, raising more money than anyone ever expected. The challenge encouraged people to donate whatever they could to ALS research. We have details about Anthony Senerchia’s cause of death and more about his inspirational life, right here in our Anthony Senerchia wiki.

An Overachiever 

Born in 1971, Senerchia was raised in the town of Pelham, New York where he lived for most of his life. He went to Pelham Memorial High School before receiving a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Manhattan College. A great football player, his high school named an athletic award for leadership and character in his honor. After graduating from college, Senerchia got a job as a project manager in New York City. After gaining some valuable experience, he decided to venture out on his own and started his own contracting business with SCC Construction.

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How It All Began

He got married to his high school sweetheart, Jeanette Hane, who was by his side in 2003 when he was diagnosed with ALS, or otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Hane’s cousin is married to golfer Chris Kennedy, who was nominated to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge which, at that time, was not specifically linked to ALS, but rather to any charity of the nominee’s choosing. He donated to an ALS charity and nominated Hanes, whose donation went to a non-profit organization she and Senerchia started. Celebrities like Justin Bieber, LeBron James, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Russell Brand all took on the challenge, and awareness of the disease spread beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. The challenge raised $115.0 million in two months, and most of that money went to fund research for this debilitating disease.

An Inspiration to Everyone

After his death, Anthony Senerchia’s wife told the Journal News Media Group, “It’s a difficult disease and tough when you’re losing. Your body is failing you. But he was a fighter…He was our light. He made our life better.” Kennedy told TIME about the challenge in 2014 saying, “What started out as a small gesture to put a smile on Anthony’s face and bring some awareness to this terrible disease has become a national phenomenon. And it is something we never could have dreamed of.”

Senerchia helped many families by raising awareness of the disease and, more importantly, by his own never-give-up attitude towards it. Anthony Senerchia’s obituary reads: “He worked tirelessly to raise awareness for ALS and was directly responsible for the world-renowned Ice Bucket challenge.” It also mentioned that he was “a fireball who tried everything in life.” Senerchia showed others that life means living with a big heart no matter what your circumstances are, and he will continue to inspire many even now that he’s gone.