In March 2013, Pat Quinn was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common form of motor neurone disease (MND). After his diagnosis, Pat became an inspiration to millions of people around the world, when he turned his efforts towards raising vital awareness and funds for the fight against ALS/MND.
When Pat, who lived in Yonkers, NY, saw the Ice Bucket Challenge on the social media feed of the friends and family of the late Anthony Senerchia, he knew it was the key to raising much needed awareness.
Pat established a team of supporters - Quinn for the Win – to help in his mission to raise awareness and fund the search for a cure. Pat and his 'Quinn for the Win' supporters, along with the late Pete Frates, a former college baseball star who also had ALS, turned the challenge into the biggest social media phenomenon in history.
The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media in the summer of 2014, when people around the world posted videos and photos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and challenging others to do the same, while urging donations to local ALS/MND charities.
The challenge went on to raise over $220 million around the world for ALS/MND research and in Scotland alone, an incredible £500,000 was raised for MND Scotland.
The momentum of the Ice Bucket Challenge has dramatically increased awareness of ALS/MND on a global scale and the funds raised have accelerated the search for a cure - leading to new research discoveries and improving care for people living with the illness.
The ALS Association said: "Pat fought ALS with positivity and bravery and inspired all around him. Those of us who knew him are devastated but grateful for all he did to advance the fight against ALS.”
Craig Stockton, MND Scotland's chief executive said: “We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Pat Quinn, and are sending our deepest condolences to his family and friends, at this extremely difficult time.
"Before the Ice Bucket Challenge, MND was relatively unknown to the public. The legacy of this challenge has taken awareness of the illness to new heights and we are now closer than ever to finding a cure for this devastating disease. This would not have been possible without Pat, and the millions of people who helped make the Ice Bucket Challenge a global phenomenon."
You can read more about Pat and his contribution to the ALS/MND community on the ALS Association website.
Photo credit: ALS Association