In his own battle with ALS, Pat Quinn has made a positive impact on others fighting the life-changing disease around the country.
Remember the viral Ice Bucket Challenge trend? That was all started by Quinn, who, four years ago, began hosting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at Yonkers’ Empire City Casino, each year since drawing hundreds of participants and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for his organization, Quinn for the Win, which benefits Quinn’s care and not-for-profit ALS research organizations.
“We live by the mantra, ‘Every August Until A Cure,’” says Quinn, a Yonkers resident. “There is greater hope within the ALS community now than ever before because of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but we can’t stop now.”
After being diagnosed on March 8, 2013, Quinn, an Iona College graduate, wanted to find a way to raise awareness about the disease drastically changing his own life. In the summer of 2014, together with Pete Frates in Boston, a standout Boston College athlete who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 at the age of 27, Quinn gathered a network of friends and supporters to dunk themselves with icy water and challenge others to do the same. The fundraising initiative became known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and quickly went viral around the world, raising more than $220 million for research.
“I think it was the right time for the right disease,” says Quinn. “ALS really was unknown; not many people ever talked about it. All you ever really heard about was Lou Gehrig. And that summer in 2014, there was really no big world-wide news, so we were able to grab the media, and I think our network and the network in Boston really got lucky when celebrities started getting onboard.”
This August 4 will be this year’s event, and Quinn is hoping it will be their biggest year yet. Empire City is donating the entire set-up and staffing, nearly 1,300 pounds of ice, entertainment and giveaways to the first 500 attendees. Donations are not required to participate. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Quinn For The Win which benefits Pat Quinn’s personal care, as well as numerous non-profit ALS research organizations.