The 2021 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took place Aug.1 trackside at Empire City Casino’s Yonkers Raceway with New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; New York State Sen. Shelley Mayer; Assemblyman Gary Pretlow; Westchester County Board of legislators Chris Johnson and Damon Maher; members of the Yonkers City Council John Rubbo and Tasha Diaz; Alexandra Spano representing her father, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; family of late Yonkers native Pat Quinn; and Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts executives to continue Pat Quinn’s mission to raise awareness of ALS and the need for research funding to find a cure.
The annual event, co-founded by Quinn after his diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2013, became a global phenomenon in 2014 as thousands of people from around the world participated in the challenge on social media. This year at Empire City Casino, more than 300 people doused themselves in ice cold water.
“Empire City Casino is proud to host the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this year and be part of the continuing legacy of ALS champion Pat Quinn to generate awareness of this debilitating disease and the need for research funding,” said Ed Domingo, MGM Resorts Northeast Group senior vice president and CFO. “This is an incredible community and to see everyone come together in support of the patients and families battling ALS is very moving. We continue to be committed to supporting our local community and hope to be one step closer to finding a cure.”
“Year after year, our city continues to amaze me as I witness the outpouring of love and support for our fearless leader, Pat Quinn, and countless others who have suffered from this terrible disease,” Spano said. “Yonkers will continue to support the Ice Bucket Challenge and promote the need for more research to end ALS – we are in this every August until a cure!”
This year, John DeSio of Staten Island attended the event with a new connection to the cause as his father was recently diagnosed with the debilitating disease at the age of 70.
“ALS can affect families at any times, and it is critical that we all continue to work for a cure,” DeSio said. “Quinn for the Win and Empire City Casino have both played a major role in raising awareness of this awful disease and helping to find a cure. I am honored to have taken part in this year’s Ice Bucket Challenge and to have shown my support for their ongoing mission. ALS can take a devastating toll on the people and families who are dealing with this disease, and it is wonderful to have organizations such as Quinn for the Win and Empire City Casino to provide much needed support for those who need it.”
Though Quinn passed away from ALS in November 2020, his drive and determination to find a cure continues through his family, community and beyond. Leading the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this year was Quinn’s father, Patrick Quinn Sr., who paid tribute to his son and reiterated his determination to continue his son’s mission to provide support for ALS patients and their families, and to hold the ice bucket challenge every year to ensure the need for a cure remains in focus. Quinn Sr. also released a video encouraging everyone to support the effort, which can be viewed here.
Since 2015, Empire City Casino has hosted the annual challenge in support of Quinn and ALS patients across the globe to continue to generate awareness of the debilitating disease and the need for research funding. The 2020 challenge was not held due to the pandemic. Each year, Empire City Casino donates the space, setup and staffing costs, as well as more than 1,300 pounds of ice.