A new campaign called the #ALSPepperChallenge is sweeping across the internet, and it's now even being taken by sports icons and celebrities alike.
Screenshot of ESPN's The Jump taking on the #ALSPepperChallenge
The challenge is meant to support those who suffer from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is a disorder that causes your muscles to give out, and sadly, there is no cure for ALS at this time.
Similar to the Ice Bucket challenge that preceded it, the rules here are simple: Eat a hot pepper of your choosing and endure the pain, or donate money to an ALS charity. Of course, there's always the option to endure and give money, which many people end up doing anyway.
You then get to nominate three other people, and they have 48 hours to complete the challenge and pass it on. From there, the network of people trying to stomach hot peppers in the name of awareness for Lou Gehrig's Disease grows.
This rendition of an ALS-supporting challenge was coined by Tom Haberstroh, a former NBA insider for ESPN and the co-founder of Leverage the Chat. His mom was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder just before this past holiday season. To help her out, Haberstroh created the challenge alongside a fundraiser on Classy, which currently has met roughly 70% of its fundraising goal of $50,000. All of the money will be donated to the ALS Therapy Development Institute.
Another similar version of the #ALSPepperChallenge was started in late October by culinary YouTube phenom Binging with Babish, aka Andrew Rea. He lost a big fan and dear friend of his, Garmt van Soest, to the disease. To commemorate Garmt, Rea set up a GoFundMe fundraiser that will benefit The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association and created his own hot pepper challenge.
Rea's involves donating more money as the spiciness of your pepper declines. For example, if you eat a mild Anaheim pepper, you should donate $20 minimum, whereas eating a habanero pepper would suffice a $5 minimum donation.
Both renditions of the ALS-supporting hot pepper challenge are worth backing, and many have already done so on Twitter. The most recent big name to undertake the challenge was Celtics legend Paul Pierce, who challenged fellow NBA legends Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett to do the same after ingesting a pepper on ESPN's The Jump. (His ESPN co-anchor, Jackie MacMullan, also challenged Charles Barkley to undertake the challenge). Considering how Shaq performed last time he attempted a spicy challenge, this'll definitely be an interesting trial to watch.