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Ice Bucket Challenge Founder Dismisses Critics

Patrick Quinn, 31, was diagnosed with ALS last year

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Patrick Quinn, of Yonkers, one of the founders of the A.L.S. Ice Bucket Challenge explains the story behind what has become a national trend on "The Debrief With David Ushery." The show airs on Sunday, August 24th at 5:30 a.m. on WNBC-TV. Learn more about ALS at alsa.org. (Published Friday, Aug 22, 2014)

The New York man who helped create the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge says he's stunned by how quickly the movement has taken off and is heartened by the new conversation around the little-known disease.

Patrick Quinn, 31, of Yonkers, was inspired by a Pelham, New York family who performed the stunt, and he decided to recruit 50 friends to do the same in the name of ALS awareness. With each person nominating three other people to do the challenge, the act went viral. 

"Within the first day or two, our whole news feed was covered in ice bucket challenges," he said. 

Quinn knows how vital it is to raise awareness about the disease, which still has very little research surrounding it. He was diagnosed with ALS last March at the age of 30. 

David Ushery Takes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

[NY] David Ushery Takes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
After sports anchor Bruce Beck accepted Giants punter Steve Weatherford's nomination to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, he in turn nominated weekend anchor David Ushery to take the challenge -- and sure enough, within 24 hours, David stepped up! To learn more about ALS, visit ALSA.org. (Published Thursday, Aug 14, 2014)

"It's a tough disease. The life expectancy for myself was changed from an old man to 2 to 5 years," he said. "It's been whirlwind, it's tough." 

Quinn said he's lost muscle in his arms, upper back and neck. His legs are still functioning, but they're shaky and twitch frequently. He can no longer lift anything over his head without help. 

Bruce Beck Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

[NY] Bruce Beck Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge
NBC 4 New York's own Bruce Beck takes the Ice Bucket Challenge. Beck was nominated by Giants punter Steve Weatherford and challenged News 4 New York weekend anchor and Debrief host David Ushery to take the plunge, along with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horowitz. (Published Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014)

"It's a lot of muscle loss and atrophy at this point," he said. 

There's still no known cause for ALS, and that's why Quinn is hoping the increase in donations and funding from the ice bucket challenges will expand the research into the devastating disease. The ALS Association says it received $62.5 million in donations from July 29 to August 23 this year, compared to $2.4 million in the same time frame last year. 

As for criticism that the viral stunt has gotten too narcissistic or self-involved, Quinn brushes it off as irrelevant. 

"If people are doing it and mentioning ALS, even if they don't know what they're doing, they're still creating awareness," he said. "That was our initial intent. Awareness increases support, and more support equals more funding. More funding, hopefully more research." 

"The momentum we're building for ALS right now is incredible," he said. "We're just gonna ride it out and hopefully raise as much money as we can." 

To learn more about ALS or to make a donation, visit alsa.org

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