Corey Griffin, a 27-year-old philanthropist who played a large role in making the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge go viral, died in a tragic accident after diving off the coast of Nantucket, Mass., on Saturday.
Around 2 a.m., Griffin dove off a wharf and resurfaced once before disappearing under the water. Some reports said he jumped off a two-story building, not a wharf, that is popular among locals. He was pulled out of the water and received CPR, then rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead at 3 a.m.
Griffin helped raise over $100,000 for ALS — or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” — only days before he died. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that impacts nerve cells in the brain as well as the spinal cord, ultimately causing muscle weakness that turns into atrophy and death.
The young philanthropist, who was a former Bain Capital manager, also helped make the popular ALS ice bucket challenge go viral on the Internet. The challenge was inspired by Pete Frates, a friend of Griffin’s and a victim of ALS. Frates’ condition had originally started as a campaign of dumping buckets of ice water over the heads of famous athletes and celebrities, but Griffin helped to make it viral on social media.
The ice bucket campaign has raised over $4 million for the ALS Association, compared to the $1.12 million the organization received during the same time frame last year. “We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of the ALS Association, said in a news release. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”
Overall, the campaign has raised over $22.9 million in donations for ALS — and has raised awareness among thousands and even millions of people.
Griffin's friends and family say that he was incredibly happy and proud for raising money for ALS. “Helping out was nothing new for Griff,” Frates wrote on Facebook. “He held his own event for me back in 2012, just a few months after diagnosis. He worked his butt off these last few weeks for ALS. We texted everyday, planning and scheming ways to raise funds and plan events.”