Ice bucket pioneer drowns
Corey Griffin died after diving off a wharf and drowning in Massachusetts shortly after attending a charity function for motor neuron disease ALS, which inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon.PT1M11S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3e1lc 620 349 August 21, 2014
One of the pioneers of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a fund-raising phenomenon that has gone viral online, has drowned in an accident in the US, police say.
Corey Griffin, 27, had just attended an event to raise awareness and money for the motor neuron disease ALS when he was involved in a diving accident in Nantucket, Massachusetts, last week.
Police spokesman Carlos Moreira said Mr Griffin jumped from the roof of a two-storey wharf building into Nantucket Harbour about 2am on Saturday, August 16.
One of the pioneers of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Corey Griffin, who has died. Photo: Facebook
Mr Moreira said Mr Griffin was submerged, then floated to the surface. He then sank and did not come up again.
An off-duty lifeguard from Nantucket, Colin Perry, was working nearby and dived into the water and recovered Mr Griffin from the bottom of the harbour, Mr Moreira said.
Mr Griffin was taken to Nantucket Cottage Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later, Mr Moreira said.
Michael Greeley, a friend of Mr Griffin and a spokesman for his family, said Mr Griffin suffered two crushed vertebrae in the accident.
"This is a kid who went from having a big smile on his face to being dead instantly," Mr Greeley said.
Mr Griffin was a close friend of Pete Frates, a former captain of the Boston College baseball team who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 and whose struggle with the disease turned the Ice Bucket Challenge into a viral sensation.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started by the ALS Association to raise funds to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that attacks the motor neurons along the spine, causing patients to lose control of their muscles, potentially causing total paralysis.
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, George W. Bush and Lady Gaga are just a few of the high-profile people who have taken part in the challenge by filming themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads, before nominating others to do the same.
Mr Griffin was heavily involved in fund-raising for Mr Frates, helping to raise $100,000 at the event on the night he died.
Mr Frates paid tribute to his friend on social media.
"Team FrateTrain lost a good friend today, Corey Griffin," he wrote.
"Helping out was nothing new for Griff. 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.
"God Bless. RIP Corey."
The ALS Association said in a statement: “This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the Griffin and Frates families.
“We commend Corey for his exemplary efforts for raising awareness and funding to fight ALS.”
Mr Griffin's father, Robert, told The Boston Globe that he had spoken to his son on the phone about the fund-raising event just hours before his death.
“He was the happiest guy in the world,” Robert Griffin said. “He called me last night and told me he was in paradise.”
Robert Griffin said his son had been tortured by Mr Frates’ ordeal with the incurable disease.
“He was so happy to be able to help him,” Robert Griffin said. “He cared about everybody else."
Mr Griffin, a former college hockey player, had worked for Bain Capital and recently moved to New York City to work for a finance company called RANE.
“As a business person, he was outstanding. It’s a loss. He was a rising star,” Bryan Koop, a close family friend, told The Boston Globe.
“He was a giver. He gave back at every opportunity. Whether it was his friends or the community.”
Diving off the building on Straight Wharf "is kind of a rite of passage" on the island, said Tiffany Lee, a bartender at a local restaurant.
"I have tons of friends who have done it," she said.
Fairfax Media, with Bloomberg