Note: This story was updated on Aug. 19, 2014.

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In a few short weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has taken the nation by storm.

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And it all began in Westchester County.

Yonkers native Pat Quinn, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, last year, helped begin the social media phenomenon, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

The 31-year-old launched the campaign with the help of friend Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball captain who also has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Quinn said he is overwhelmed and thrilled about the attention the Ice Bucket Challenge has received.

“I could only hope that the increase in funding from these challenges is going to be that difference-maker,” Quinn, who lives in Howard Beach, Queens, told WCBS 880. “It’s been 75 years since Lou Gehrig did his farewell speech, and there’s been no change in that time. So ALS really needed a wake-up call in a way.”

In the challenge, people dump buckets of icy water on their heads, then challenge other friends to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to an ALS charity. Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg and Gov. Chris Christie are among the many celebrities who have joined in.

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Among the other celebrities who have joined the challenge, according to published reports, is the governor of Illinois — whose name also happens to be Pat Quinn.

Dorine Gordon, president and chief executive officer of the ALS Association’s Greater New York Chapter, told Diamond the challenge has helped the organization raise more than $15 million since July 29.

She countered the critics who say those participating are only in it for laughs.

“They really come out, and donated a tremendous amount,” Gordon said. ” … We’ve never seen that kind of fundraising effort before.”

It has also raised awareness about the progressive neurodegenerative disease, for which there is no cure.

Gordon, who lost her mother to the disease, said the challenge is helping researchers move closer to a cure.

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