GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Pat Quinn, whose battle with ALS inspired the world-wide Ice Bucket Challenge that has raised awareness and nearly $80 million so far, visited Woodlands High School to witness the Falcons football team's challenge at the school's football field on Tuesday, Aug. 26.
Quinn is a 31-year-old Yonkers native who was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year. He told the players to live for each day and do their best before describing how Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) affects. ALS is better known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," after it took the life the New York Yankees great, who died in 1941 at the age of 38.
Quinn has longtime friendships with Woodlands Athletic Director Matt Smith and several other coaches.
"ALS is a tough disease and what I have isn't normal at my age (31)," Quinn told the players and coaches who assembled to help his cause. "I'm losing my muscles in my upper body and back and struggle to talk for long periods of time and (breath). I want you to enjoy your time here, enjoy your teamwork. You can do anything as a team."
Quinn said he has a team helping him through the stages of the debilitating disease and, despite being independent, tough and proud, appreciates those who are supporting him. He was thrilled with how the Ice Bucket Challenge has captured millions around the world.
"Your coaches are great role models and listen to your coaches," Quinn said. "I need a lot of help now and I'm hard headed, but you need your friends and you need your team. It's been very tough but I want to thank you guys for letting come and speak to you. Good luck this year."
Woodlands head coach Mike Meade, a Yonkers native who has known Quinn for many years, then led his team and coaching staff as they were bathed in ice water dumped from a front loader.
"ALS was known because of Lou Gehrig, but unless you have a movement like this to raise awareness and lots of money, research can't get done," Meade said. "Pat and the social media has made ALS known in a short time and millions has been raised. We want to support that and I know we can find a cure and help those who suffer from a tough disease."
The Woodlands players in turn challenged teams from Gorton and Lincoln high schools in Yonkers and neighboring Edgemont High School.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same.
A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.