Shifting focus to ALS
The challenge first received increased media attention in the United States on June 30, 2014, when personalities of the program Morning Drive, which airs weekdays on Golf Channel, televised the social-media phenomenon, and performed a live, on-air Ice Bucket Challenge.
Soon after, the challenge was brought to mainstream audiences when television anchor Matt Lauer did the Ice Bucket Challenge on July 15, 2014 on NBC's The Today Show atGreg Norman's challenge.
On the same day, golfer Chris Kennedy did the challenge, then challenged his cousin Jeanette Senerchia of Pelham, New York, whose husband, Anthony, had had ALS for 11 years. Kennedy "was the first ... to focus the freezing fundraiser on ALS research."
Former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who has ALS, began posting about the challenge on Twitter. Frates is a patient advocate who was awarded the Stephen Heywood Patients Today Award in 2012 for his fundraising and advocacy work. Frates' Boston College and sporting connections became an initial focus of the challenge and strengthened its focus on ALS.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, was challenged by Ethel Kennedy but declined, opting to contribute to the campaign with a donation of $100. Justin Bieber (who was criticized for not properly doing the challenge), LeBron James, and "Weird Al" Yankovic also challenged President Obama after completing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Former President George W. Bush completed the challenge and nominated fellow former President Bill Clinton. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, was challenged by both Alex Salmond and Russell Brand, but also declined in favour of a donation.