Ice Bucket Challenge Fundraiser Anthony Carbajal Wins 2015 Cash, Sweat & Tears Award
(Press release, Feb. 24, 2015) — Anthony Carbajal — the creator of a poignant Ice Bucket Challenge video that has raised $3.8 million for the ALS Therapy Development Institute — has been named the 2015 recipient of the Cash, Sweat & Tears Award.
The award, which annually honors an extraordinary volunteer who has taken on physical challenges or overcome tremendous obstacles to raise money for charity, was presented in Orlando at the annual conference of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, which oversees the Cash, Sweat & Tears program.
"In a year in which the Ice Bucket Challenge demonstrated to the world the power of volunteer-led fundraising programs, we are delighted to present this award to Anthony," said David Hessekiel, the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum's founder and president. "His emotional, personal appeal has done much more than raise money for ALS research — it has inspired millions of people around the globe and put a human face on a shattering disease."
ALS has gripped Carbajal's family for generations. His grandmother Marie was diagnosed with the disease when Carbajal was in middle school and died six years later. His mother, Catherine, has been living with the disease since he was in high school.
In 2013, Carbajal began feeling weakness in his hands, arms and shoulders — weakness that made it almost impossible for him to continue his work as a professional wedding photographer.
In January 2014, he was diagnosed with ALS. He was just 26 years old at the time.
"Since then, I've lost the ability to button my clothes and open bottles," he says. "I feel like I have weights strapped to my body. Taking a shower is a workout in itself."
When the Ice Bucket Challenge became a viral sensation in 2014, raising an estimated $220 million worldwide for ALS-related charities, Carbajal naturally felt compelled to help raise money for and awareness about the disease. But rather than simply completing the challenge, he created a powerful, seven-minute video that included an unscripted, tearful account of his battle with ALS.