By Jason Sobel
Chris Kennedy is a professional golfer on the minor-league West Florida Tour. The 26-year-old has won three times already this year and leads the money list with $18,250 earned in 24 starts.
“It’s been a good year,” he says. “Things are starting to click a little bit. I’m starting to figure out how to play this game.”
That’s nice for his burgeoning career, but it doesn’t account for how he became one of the founding fathers of the Internet’s latest charitable phenomenon.
No, for that we must trace the circuitous and fortuitous route of a single $100 donation and how social media has turned it into $22 million and counting.
Just over a month ago, Kennedy’s trainer, James Whatmore, was assigned to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge. A fad rapidly sweeping the nation, it consisted of a person pouring ice water over his head, then passing on the challenge to someone else. It was not only harmless, but philanthropic. Anyone who failed to complete the challenge in 24 hours was required to make a donation to their favorite charity. Even those who completed it often made a contribution.
Whatmore doused himself in ice water and passed it on to Jon Bullas, Kennedy’s swing coach. Then Bullas passed it on to Kennedy. On July 14, Kennedy recorded video of himself taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. He then called out three others, including his wife’s cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband, Anthony, is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – more commonly known as ALS. Read More
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