Although amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was first found in 1869, it didn’t start getting international attention until 1939, when beloved baseball star Lou Gehrig was diagnosed with the disease. The degenerative disease forces the motor neurons in your brain to deteriorate, which eventually leads to paralysis and death.
However, the hype surrounding the incurable disease slowly dwindled down until cosmologist Stephen Hawking announced that he was suffering from it in 1963. However, at the time, nobody could’ve predicted that over five decades later, ALS would be one of the most talked about conditions in the world.
In the summer of 2014, three young men with ALS enlisted the help of the world to raise awareness and funds for the devastating condition by dumping buckets of ice water on their heads.
The campaign soon became widespread, and inspired both regular people and celebrities to take on the challenge and make donations to the ALS Association. As a result, $115 million was raised to advance the research for the cause and cure of the disease, and for the first time in 22 years, the FDA approved a new treatment drug.
Now, to ensure that the conversation surrounding ALS doesn’t cease, ESPN anchor Tom Haberstroh has introduced a new challenge that may be even more grueling that dumping ice water on your head. The host was inspired to create the ALS Pepper Challenge after his mother, Patty, was diagnosed with the disease.
The challenge has been underway for a few weeks now, and lots of celebrities are partaking in the spicy dare. More recently, country singer Trisha Yearwood and her husband, Garth Brooks, took the challenge then asked Kelly Clarkson to do the same. As you can imagine, it went as well as you’d expect eating one of the world’s spiciest peppers would go.