The Reason Behind Crazy 'Ice Water Challenge' Trend

There's a good reason people keep dumping water on their heads.

— -- If you keep seeing people dump buckets of ice cold water on themselves, you’re not alone.

But it’s more than just an excruciating game – the social media stunt aims to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), according to Patrick Quinn, who suffers from the disease.

It’s called the ice water challenge and videos of participants are going viral on Facebook and Instagram.

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“Someone nominates you to do the challenge. You have 24 hours to do it or you’re supposed to donate $100 to your choice of ALS charity,” Quinn, from Yonkers, New York, told ABC News today.

Quinn for the Win, a charity he launched to raise awareness about the disease, has been encouraging people to participate in the challenge and post the videos on social media.

“The more people who get involved, the more money will be raised, the more research we can support,” he said.

Quinn, 31, said his life changed drastically after he was diagnosed with ALS last year.

“At this point, my arms are very weak, my hands are even weaker,” he said. “I have a lot of neck pain. My legs have been pretty tough. They’re shaky, they twitch a lot. But I’m still walking, so I’m pretty lucky.”

ALS is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells that control movement, according to the CDC. It can cause paralysis, and most people die within five years of being diagnosed.

While most of the videos mention ALS, there’s not one cause tied to the challenge. People have been using the ice water challenge to support many diseases.

The movement mirrors another similar, albeit dangerous, campaign in which people were dared to jump into freezing Lake Michigan and then post a video of the leap online. At least one death was linked to the stunt.