Tech CEOs take ALS Ice Bucket Challenge; is Apple’s Tim Cook next?


Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg did it Wednesday and Tim Cook could be next — tech CEOs are dumping buckets of ice water on themselves to raise awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, as it's known, is an awareness campaign that started in late July and has been going viral. Celebrities from the world of entertainment and professional sports have taken it on, but now it's found its way to Silicon Valley.

Zuckerberg was among the first high-profile tech leaders to take on the challenge, posting a video of himself on, you guessed it, his Facebook page. As is customary in the challenge, one has to nominate a few friends to take on the challenge in the next 24 hours to raise awareness about ALS or donate money toward the ALS Assn.

"That was really cold," said Zuckerberg, after nominating Bill Gates, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo posted his video on Vine while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella got soaked on YouTube and nominated Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Google CEO Larry Page. Cook could be next after being nominated by Phil Schiller, his marketing chief, who posted his challenge in a series of photos on Twitter.

Cook joined in on the fun, according to a video posted on Instagram on Thursday afternoon showing the CEO getting splashed in front of his employees at the company's Cupertino headquarters.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere also drenched himself in chilly water and used the opportunity to get his peers involved, nominating Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

The ALS Assn. said it has raised $5.7 million since the challenge began a few weeks ago, up from $1.2 million during the same period last year.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease that over time causes sufferers to lose the ability to control their muscles. After being diagnosed, ALS patients typically have life expectancies of two to five years, and currently there is only one drug to treat the disease, and it extends survival by only a few months, according to the ALS Assn.

The challenge started in July with 31-year-old Pat Quinn of Long Island, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. He nominated fellow ALS patient Pete Frates, who has been raising awareness since his diagnosis more than two years ago and has a large network of followers. From there, the Ice Bucket Challenge took on a life of its own.

“We moved a mountain here,” Frates' father, John, told the Los Angeles Times. “Their accomplishment is shining a light on this neglected disease that's been hidden from view and underfunded for so long.”

Check out the tech figures accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge below:

Jerry Jalava

Wanna chat? Send me a tweet at: @sal19


5:57 p.m. PDT Aug. 14: This post has been updated with a link to Apple's Tim Cook doing the Ice Bucket Challenge on Instagram.