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Yonkers’ “Ice Bucket Challenge” ALS Warrior Pat Quinn Passes at 37

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The viral challenge co-founder died Sunday after a seven-year battle against the neurodegenerative disease that also claimed Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking.

Every summer, the Internet floods with viral videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS, otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and every year The ALS Association sees a noble increase in its donations.

Westchester County is especially familiar with the challenge, as it was co-founded right here by Yonkers native Pat Quinn, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2013 at age 30. Sadly, Quinn’s “Quinn for the Win” organization announced via Facebook that Quinn passed away of the disease on November 22, 2020 at age 37.

“He was a blessing to us all in so many ways. We will always remember him for his inspiration and courage in his tireless fight against ALS,” says Quinn for the Win.

Over the years, the challenge — in which participants dump pails of ice water over their heads before challenging three others to do the same or donate $100 — raises more than $115 million for The ALS Association and more than $220 million for ALS research globally.

Quinn was a common fixture in Westchester schools, often speaking to assembled students on the topics of ALS and adversity. Average survival rates for ALS typically range from 20 to 48 months from diagnosis, though 10-20 percent of patients can live more than 10 years, such as famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Quinn had just returned home from the hospital on Friday after receiving a tracheostomy.

“Pat fought ALS with positivity and bravery and inspired all around him,” says The ALS Association in a statement. “Those of us who knew him are devastated but grateful for all he did to advance the fight against ALS.”

“2020 has been hard, I have lost many of my heroes, and Pat was one of my personal heroes,” says Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “Pat made the best of the worst situation. He taught us how to never give up hope and to fight for a better future. He will be greatly missed and always remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him.”