Speed Reads

ice bucket challenge

This is the guy who made the 'ice bucket challenge' go viral

By now you're probably well aware of the ice bucket challenge, in which people are presented with the choice of donating $100 to raise awareness for Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or dumping ice water all over themselves. The challenge has become a phenomenon on social media: people post videos of themselves being doused with ice water, then nominate their friends to go next. (Most of the participants, which include a bunch of celebrities, shell out the $100 as well.)

But how did it all begin? The New York Times reports that the man who made the ice bucket challenge go viral is Pete Frates, who suffers from ALS himself.

In late July, Mr. Frates learned about the challenge from his friend Pat Quinn, a New Yorker who also has ALS, and wanted to turn the trend into a fund-raiser for the disease.

Mr. Frates nominated himself for the challenge. Instead of having ice water poured on his head — "ice water and ALS are a bad mix," he said on his Facebook page — he posted a video of himself bouncing his head to "Ice Ice Baby," the 1989 hit song by the rapper Vanilla Ice. He challenged some friends, and the stunt spread quickly through Boston circles, then across the web until last week when a parade of boldfaced names joined in. (Last week, Mr. Frates again took the challenge, this time having ice dumped on his head at Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park.)

"Did we ever imagine the level of awareness or the money that is coming in? In our dreams we did," said Mr. Frates's mother, Nancy Frates. [The New York Times]

The campaign has generated more than $13 million for the ALS Association since the end of July, according to The Washington Post.