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A look at the person behind the Ice Bucket Challenge

Hundreds of thousands are talking about and participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, but few know who inspired the social craze.
Many people are talking about the Ice Bucket Challenge, but few know about the person who actually inspired this social craze.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Justin Timberlake, the New York Jets, and Martha Stewart have joined hundreds of thousands of social media users and accepted the challenge to dump ice water on their heads and dare others to do the same or donate to ALS research instead.

This challenge has helped to raise at least $4 million in just the past two weeks alone.

"We've seen probably a 10 times increase in donations compared to a year ago, but it's more about awareness," said CEO of ALS Therapy Development Institute Steven Perrin.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, impacts the brain and spinal cord, causing progressive paralysis.

Pete Frates was diagnosed in 2012. It robbed the former Boston College baseball captain of his ability to walk and talk. It was his idea, along with fellow ALS patient Pat Quinn, to start the challenge.

"It's really beyond anything we could have imagined," said Pete's wife, Julie Frates.

Julie says the campaign is a game changer.

"Before this, you know, so many people just did not understand what ALS was," she said. "We need people to rally around this cause. And if people keep dumping buckets of water on their heads, then so be it."

Even President Barack Obama got in on the craze, opting to donate instead of getting drenched. The White House says the president declined Ethel Kennedy's challenge saying he appreciates her thinking of him, but his contribution to this effort will be monetary. The 86-year-old widow of late Sen. Bobby Kennedy posted a video of herself and family members accepting the challenge.

To watch ABC7 News reporter Alan Wang take the Ice Bucket Challenge, click here.

ABC7 News contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
health viral video social media fundraiser u.s. & world celebrity president barack obama barack obama
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